As world leaders gather in New York to sign the climate accord reached in Paris in December, let’s celebrate Earth Day with a poem by William Wordsworth.
In 1802, the world outside our window looked a bit different. On a walk with his sister Dorothy, Wordsworth observed a “long belt” of daffodils, inspiring him to pen I Wandered Lonely as a Cloud.
The poem captures the essence of Earth Day: preserving the beauty of nature, and the life affirming inspiration of a simple walk outdoors.
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.