‘I Wandered Lonely as a Cloud’ a poem by William Wordsworth

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.

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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.

William Wordsworth

‘The Tables Turned’ a poem by William Wordsworth

Today is the day to #OptOutside, a campaign initiated by the U.S. retailer REI. In contrast to it’s competitors, their stores will remain closed today and they are encouraging all of us to join them and post our outdoor experience on social media.

“REI believes that being outside makes our lives better. That’s why this Black Friday, we’re closing all 143 of our stores and paying our employees to head outside.”

The Friday poem was written by William Wordsworth in 1798, carrying a similar message,”Up! up! my Friend…” and #OptOutside.

THE TABLES TURNED

Up! up! my Friend, and quit your books;
Or surely you’ll grow double:
Up! up! my Friend, and clear your looks;
Why all this toil and trouble?

The sun, above the mountain’s head,
A freshening lustre mellow
Through all the long green fields has spread,
His first sweet evening yellow.

Books! ’tis a dull and endless strife:
Come, hear the woodland linnet,
How sweet his music! on my life,
There’s more of wisdom in it.

And hark! how blithe the throstle sings!
He, too, is no mean preacher:
Come forth into the light of things,
Let Nature be your Teacher.

She has a world of ready wealth,
Our minds and hearts to bless—
Spontaneous wisdom breathed by health,
Truth breathed by cheerfulness.

One impulse from a vernal wood
May teach you more of man,
Of moral evil and of good,
Than all the sages can.

Sweet is the lore which Nature brings;
Our meddling intellect
Mis-shapes the beauteous forms of things:—
We murder to dissect.

Enough of Science and of Art;
Close up those barren leaves;
Come forth, and bring with you a heart
That watches and receives.

William Wordsworth 1798