6 June, 1982
Read for AP English. I rather like Wordsworth, even though I'm not a huge poetry fan.
Norton Anthology of English Literature Volume II, which I have kept
31 March, 2017
Reread today because it came to my attention. Thirty-five years on, I'm not the same person who read it then. Now I have a daughter in her own senior year of high school. It seems an unbelievable length of time, and yet, hardly any. The math is accurate. But thirty-five years since I graduated high school? And here I am, full circle, worrying about Russia and nuclear war, and the Berlin Wall is now a piece of rubble in that part of the kitchen where strange things show up from time to time. Inconceivable.
I don't share Wordsworth's delight in the countryside in general, although I did find delight in standing outside just now, after the rain, looking for a rainbow. Still I think I get some of what he was trying to say. None of the people who were with me in that last year are near me now, although I suppose I could connect with them all on FaceBook, well, except my parents, who have both died. But I think I get the point he was making about being able to return to a place after whatever changes I've been through, and to feel again the same kinds of sensations. The place I return to isn't a scenic walk in the mountains at the Borders, it's a text, which is the only permanence I know.
There are only two kinds of poetry I care for, still: light verse which amuses and delights Old Possum's Book never gets old to me, nor The Jabberwocky, and poetry like this, that gets at the feelings. I suppose it is the same way I feel about music, that it is an easy and reliable way into a particular emotion.
None of this sheds any light on Wordsworth's poem, and my AP English teacher wouldn't have accepted a paper like this, but this is what reading is for me: a way to share emotions with other people across space and time, or even just with myself. An emotional time machine. I think he'd understand that.
Free copy from Project Gutenberg