Grandfather Poems

Posted By on March 9, 2008

“Worth a Word Or Two”

.: Many people think my grandfather has the voice for sports radio. “What an utter waste of talent,” I respond. He does have a remarkable voice that’s rich in low, dulcet tones, but sports radio is not the place for him. He does, however, have a soft spot for poetry, so I figured I’d get him to recite a few poems over the course of spring break and share them with the rest of the blogging world. Here’s the first one:

G: …and there’s one down here that I like that I know we didn’t read last night. Says, “The eve, it cannot choose but see” … no excuse me, “The eye — it cannot choose but see;/We cannot bid the ear be still;/Our bodies feel, where’er they be,/Against or with our will.” Now that’s, you know, pretty practical, isn’t it?

Did you want me to read one of these?

C: Yeah, go ahead and read one all the way through.

G: OK. All right. The one . . . I memorized this. We had to . . . if we memorized a hundred lines of poetry, then the teacher would give us ten points on the final, and so this is one I memorized and went into her and said it and so forth. So I made ten points on the final, so . . . it starts out:

I wander’d 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 stretch’d 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.

C: What was the name of that poem?

G: The name of that poem is, “I Wander’d Lonely as a Cloud,” and it was written by William Wordsworth, a British poet obviously. It said, this was “written at Town-end, Grasmere. The Daffodils grew and still grow on the margin of Ullswater, and probably may be seen today as beautiful in the month of March, nodding their golden heads beside the dancing and foaming waves.”

I went to Ireland and to England in March one year, and they had these daffodils along this road. They had a rock fence and they had dirt for over a mile, and they had daffodils as far as you can see on either side of the road. So I thought about this poem whenever I saw that. But they are, you know, we’ve always tried to work in the yard. In fact I’ve been trying get up enough energy to go down and get some plants now and replace some that are kind of old, but I haven’t managed to get up enough energy today.

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2 Responses to “Grandfather Poems”

  1. That was beautiful.
    Back when I was in school (a while back, now) I often considered it having to ‘endure’ poetry when it came up in English class. But every now and then a poem would come up that would make it worthwhile. ‘Daffodils’ (as I remembered it) was one such poem.
    Casabianca–The boy stood on the burning deck— is another that springs to mind; as are ‘O Captain my captain’ by Whitman, ‘Tyger Tyger’ by Blake and ‘Charge of the light brigade’ by Tennyson.
    Anyway, your grandfather has a voice for far far more than sports radio—for some reason he reminded me of Walter Cronkite. Different accent, but same timbre, and the commanding yet reassuring quality to his voice.
    If you can, try to get him to record the Gettysburg address.

  2. Cody says:

    I felt the same way in my English class until we read The Rime of the Ancient Mariner. My grandfather loves Coleridge too, so a future post might be a bit . . . longer.

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