Today (April 7...it might be yesterday by the time I get this written!) is the poet William Wordsworth's birthday. I know: it's a fact that will stop your life in its tracks, causing you to break out in unfettered joy. For certain.
I've just spent a good half-hour trying to write about why Wordsworth's birthday would matter to anyone. But it's coming out all stuffy and scholarly and boring; details about the Romantic period in writing, and his Lyrical Ballads, and how his poems revolutionized poetic thought are hard to write about in a bloggerly way. So, here I go: I'm going to delete all the drivel, and just say this:
I was thinking about poetry tonight after work, and about the things I studied for my Bachelor's, and how happy it made me to finally be learning about literary stuff. At work, we were talking about the value of a humanities degree, and while the world definitely doesn't place much value on learning about books, ideas, philosophies, or ways of thinking critically, I still value it. Studying different historical periods and movements in literature felt like putting together a puzzle for me; all my life I'd heard or read about things like romanticism, or the Victorian era, or feminism, but I didn't really understand it. Whether or not the world in general values it or even cares (and, trust me: it doesn't), some of my life's best experiences came in my college English classes.
And maybe the world is right: maybe my knowledge of the romantics doesn't do much for me. It certainly hasn't brought me much money! But I still cherish what Wordsworth brought into my life, the knowledge of people who paid attention, and wrestled with words, and did both things in an attempt to make art---to create something larger than themselves. Wordsworth is a case-in-point of that idea: More than 200 years after his first poems were published, and nearly 16 decades after his death, I'm here, thinking about his poems, his ideas, his life, and in that way he continues to matter, even thought the mattering is pretty small compared to things like recessions and presidents, basketball madness and whether or not Jessica Simpson is still hot or not.
Maybe it would be seasonally appropriate to share his daffodil poem, considering how the lines "they flash upon that inward eye/which is the bliss of solitude" are some of my favorites, and especially how my daffodils were particularly gorgeous today, when it finally warmed up. But I'm going to share my favorite Wordsworth sonnet instead, just because I love it so much and because I want someone else to think about the poem today (or tomorrow), too. It says much that I feel but cannot say in another way.