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Lines by Heart: I Wandered Lonely as a Cloud by William Wordsworth

Written by Rachael Norris, 25th April 2021

Today's Lines by Heart reading is brought to us by Cheshire Hub Leader, Alison Finegan. Alison recites I Wandered Lonely as a Cloud by William Wordsworth - put yourself to the test and see if you can memorise this poem too.

The theme for our readings in April is 'Balm for the Soul' and we hope the poetry, readings and recommendations we have chosen can help us keep reading and stay connected.

A bit like Helen who shared ‘Comfort’ with us last week, I was somewhat nervous when my turn came round to do ‘Lines by Heart’ as I equally don’t have a huge stock of poetry committed to memory. Indeed, the first poem which sprang into my head, was Albert and the Lion by Marriot Edgar which I can recall having to learn, for a school performance aged about nine. It starts ‘There’s a famous seaside place called Blackpool, That’s noted for fresh air and fun, And Mr & Mrs Ramsbottom, Went there with young Albert, their son…….’ And it goes on from there to describe Albert’s unfortunate adventure with the Lion in Blackpool zoo.

However, whilst meeting my daughter for a walk and a catch up in Sefton Park in Liverpool on a sunny Saturday morning, we passed a swathe of beautiful daffodils and my choice was made – 'I Wandered Lonely as a Cloud' by William Wordsworth. It’s probably one of our most famous poems and I’m sure lots of us will have memories of it, perhaps from school, but sometimes familiarity can make us miss things, and for me, the challenge of learning this poem by heart made me look at it anew.

My rediscovered appreciation for the beauty and uplifting power of nature, so eloquently described in this poem, was also heightened by the lockdown constraints we’ve all been living under. I’ve certainly found myself taking more time to appreciate the simple pleasures we have around us, be it a host of daffodils or the dancing waves. This together with the long-awaited arrival of Spring and some new hope that we will be able to return to some kind of normality made this poem really special for me again and I hope you enjoy either revisiting or discovering this poem for the first time.

I Wandered Lonely as a Cloud

I wandered lonely as a cloud
That floats on high o'er vales and hills,
When all at once I saw a crowd,
A host, of golden daffodils;
Beside the lake, beneath the trees,
Fluttering and dancing in the breeze.
Continuous as the stars that shine
And twinkle on the milky way,
They stretched in never-ending line
Along the margin of a bay:
Ten thousand saw I at a glance,
Tossing their heads in sprightly dance.
The waves beside them danced; but they
Out-did the sparkling waves in glee:
A poet could not but be gay,
In such a jocund company:
I gazed—and gazed—but little thought
What wealth the show to me had brought:
For oft, when on my couch I lie
In vacant or in pensive mood,
They flash upon that inward eye
Which is the bliss of solitude;
And then my heart with pleasure fills,
And dances with the daffodils.
by William Wordsworth
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