Take the ending of “I Wandered Lonely as a Cloud” by William Wordsworth
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.
Recall the foreignness of the flower and the impositions of empire when verbally transplanted to tropical shores.
J. Edward Chamberlain “Dances with Daffodils: Wordsworth and the Postcolonial Cannon” [in Canon Vs. Culture: Reflections on the Current Debate edited by Jan Groak]
Nobody in England much liked Wordsworth’s Daffodil poem (as he occasionally called it) when it first appeared, and nearly two hundred years later, nobody much likes it still, certainly nobody with post-colonial credentials, and yet there are few poems in the English language as familiar. Most people who know any poetry at all can recite some of its lines; and there are a lot of poets would love to write as unlikable a poem as that.
See how these preoccupations travel through Julie Joosten Light Light from BookThug.
the light losing our words
Once in a filed of abandoned hives.
Once with my eyes I, ghostly, felt a river dry to clay, lay quiet beneath a blank sky.
Once there was a field, a river, there were mountains. I saw reflections like phantoms, a surface of forgotten water, said take the curve of a daffodil
bending toward snow, but leave the field.
They took nothing, left a memory of river, wild raspberry, and honey.
The poem seems to close in on itself with a return to the hive-honey connection. And the reader experiences an expansion of the palette through an appeal to the sense of taste and smell. Unlike the canonical press of “ten thousand dancing in the breeze” we have the minimalism of the curve of a single daffodil image jumping the stanza to bend towards snow. But the poem sequence will metaphorically stomp on…
the light gentles the daffodil upward
honours daffodils broken from the stem, daffodils frozen before
flowering, daffodils stepped on, driven over, eaten, ignored
honours days without light, ground without water, plants that flower
too early and those that flower too late, bulbs that never sprout
and light at different angles touching other grounds.
writerly ecology honoured mud-splattered trampled
And so for day 1477