In the last few weeks of my sister’s very brief (losing) battle with pancreatic cancer, we spent quality time together, enjoying the most intimate conversations we’d had, as children or adults. Our minds trolled memories shared from our childhood until the effects of pain management meds blurred Cris’ touch with reality. One of the things that hit both of us was how differently we recalled the same event.
We were both seven when our previously widowed parents married. My first night away from the home in which I spent my earliest years was the night of their wedding and, as it happened, the night of a significant earthquake in the Central Valley of California. (You can imagine the razing Mom and Dad had when they returned from their honeymoon). While we both recalled details of awakening to violent shaking and the lamp between our twin beds lurching to the floor, we differed as to whether it was in our parents’ or our aunt’s home. Personal perceptions shape our remembering.
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.
Wordsworth wrote his memories of a walk taken two years previously with his sister, Dorothy. She also wrote her recollection of the event using prose. The details were similar, but the interpretation was quite different. By way of example, Wordsworth experienced the walk as a solitary event (I wandered lonely…) while his sister’s account includes the two of them.
The poem calls upon a variety of implements from the poet’s toolbox the add to the effectiveness of the poem. Wordsworth uses trope (the simile, for example, as a cloud). He personifies the flowers, interacting with them. Repetition plays a role–note the variations of dancing in each stanza, as does alliteration.
For today’s prompt, dig into the archives of your memories and write a poem or descriptive prose of a memory. Go ahead, if you like, and use your imagination to embellish the facts and, whether writing poetry or prose, help yourself to one or more of the poetic devices mentioned above, that helped Wordsworth pen a poem for the ages.
To participate, post the poem on your blog, access Mr. Linky at the bottom of this page and add your name and the direct URL to your blog. Please return and visit others who have participated, commenting on their work. I hope you will enjoy this prompt and read a bit more of Wordsworth. His poetry is available in the public domain.