Posted in Life lessons, Nature, Poem Analysis, Poetry, reality, William Worsworth

The WORLD is too much with us

One look at yourself and your surroundings will suffice in agreeing to me in saying, that today, many of us, almost all, have forgotten our beginnings , where all this, the entire humanity gave rise to. We have forgotten simplicity, authenticity and we seem to have not enough time to even admire the sun rise from the east, a butterfly’s wings or the sweet scent of a blooming flower. Instead, man is overwhelmed with work, endless loads of work to an extent where we’ve already forgotten how much of the nature are we destroying along the way,

It is therefore, at such a time, when Wordsworth might actually come in handy, for his words celebrates nature as an integral part of our lives and as a fascinating means of escape from the horror of our everyday cities. His words drowns us in the desire for the ecstasy of nature. This is a poem that draws our attention to the influence that we are all unknowingly inflicting upon the nature, and the poem reminds us that,

“Nature never did betray

The heart that loved her.”

The world is too much with us; late and soon,
Getting and spending, we lay waste our powers;—
Little we see in Nature that is ours;
We have given our hearts away, a sordid boon!
This Sea that bares her bosom to the moon;
The winds that will be howling at all hours,
And are up-gathered now like sleeping flowers;
For this, for everything, we are out of tune;
It moves us not. Great God! I’d rather be
A Pagan suckled in a creed outworn;
So might I, standing on this pleasant lea,
Have glimpses that would make me less forlorn;
Have sight of Proteus rising from the sea;
Or hear old Triton blow his wreathèd horn.

The poem provides a fatalist description of mankind and its detachment with the nature. The words, “late and soon” suggests the perpetuate behaviour and attitude towards nature from the world both in the past and the future. In simple words, the poem serves the purpose of characterizing the modern and the earlier man throughout, such that humans evolve round the constant circle of “getting and spending” without any involvement of giving or saving. In addition, the speaker seems to comprehend and know the potential of mankind’s “powers” and yet he believes that the human seemingly wastes it in materialistic yearning.

The speaker further proceeds on to the materialistic progress of mankind where we “have given our hearts away” to  money and worldly desires. The poet uses an oxymoron; “sordid boon” to further define the irony in the materialistic desire and accomplishments of the contemporary man. Sordid suggests the worst aspects of human nature including immorality, selfishness and greed while boon implies a blessing or a benefit. Thus the speaker reveals that materialism is a destructive and a corruptive blessing that is overwhelming the man. Although in the exterior, money and material goods bring pleasure and satisfaction, the poet brings forth the sordid truth behind theses pleasures and how human is consequently destroyed.  This is further illustrated in personifying the sea and thereby creating an image of the sea clenching her arms to her bosom and relentlessly pleading the skies to the misery of mankind and similarly the speaker draws on the image of wind repeatedly howling; all of which metaphorically indicate the unfortunate and sorrowful circumstances that have consequently drifted the man away from nature leaving it unchecked. The speaker hence complains that the man has clouded himself with time and money that he see no significance in appreciating nature.

Contrary to what the society considers, the poet does not seem to see nature as a commodity, in fact, he says, ” Little we see in Nature that is ours ” illustrating that coexistence is the relationship envisioned. Mankind, as he implies, must be able to appreciate the beauty of nature, the moon’s reflection on the sea and the gust of strong winds, whereas this relationship seems to be at the mercy of mankind depicted with the way in which these images are portrayed in the poem. “sleeping flowers” is yet another instance in the poem where nature is being overrun and ignored.

The verse “I, standing on this pleasant lea, have glimpses that would make me less forlorn”, reveals Wordsworth’s perception of himself in society: a visionary romantic more in touch with nature than his contemporaries. The speaker would rather be a pagan who worships an outdated religion so that when he gazes out on the ocean (as he’s doing now), he might feel less sad. If he were a pagan, he would have glimpses of the great green meadows that would make him less dejected. He’d see wild mythological gods like Proteus, who can take many shapes, and Triton, who can soothe the howling sea waves.


Posted in Emily Dickinson, Life lessons, Nature, Poem Analysis, Poetry, reality

The Bitter Truth

The poem is a pragmatic realization of life’s uncertainty and unreliability. Analyzing the poem on a literal level, one would observe Emily Dickinson seemingly describing a banal ordinary event of a bee who being unable to hold on to a “single clover plank”; in other words, a clover leaf, a simple blade of grass used as a plank is swept away by strong gusts of wind and seizes to exist to which Dickinson exaggerates and delineates it as a “harrowing event”.

A single Clover Plank
Was all that saved a Bee
A Bee I personally knew
From sinking in the sky —

‘Twixt Firmament above
And Firmament below
The Billows of Circumference
Were sweeping him away —

The idly swaying Plank
Responsible to nought
A sudden Freight of Wind assumed
And Bumble Bee was not —

This harrowing event
Transpiring in the Grass
Did not so much as wring from him
A wandering “Alas” —

However, one must carefully bear in mind that reading Dickinson’s poems require an in-depth exploration of the poet’s imagination and a conveyance from a literal level into the figurative meaning of her imagination.  Hence, the clover plank is naturally unsteady and temporary; added to this, the poet further defines the plank to her readers; “The idly swaying Plank/ Responsible to nought”, thus the plank is a connecting bridge between a “firmament” and steady above and below. Here the poet does not specify what is denoted by above and below but leaves the  readers to distinguish it themselves, according to which I believe that above and below suggest two extremists of possibly religion, god, ideas or even acquainted persons. The most significant symbol is the protagonist of the poem; the “bee” who is possibly symbolical of the poet herself and the rest of the world including the readers. In the light of this world, the poets or generally the entire humanity is swept away by the “billows of circumference” symbolically indicating the various inevitable forces of nature that inflict us where from we are led to hold on to a “plank” that we believe would save us from destruction and tragedy. These “billows of circumference” are metaphoric of catastrophic disasters to life-threatening  illnesses.

Thereby, on a more figurative level, agreeing to the metaphoric symbols of the poem, it is then indeed a “harrowing event” whereby the poet and the rest of humanity relies on to an incomplete, brisk matter that is entirely abstract and lacks specificity. We can therefore draw a contrast between the certain extremities and the uncertain salvation. Dickinson further affirms this uncertainty with a second gust of strong winds during which the bee; thereby we, are deprived of a said redemption and hence, seize to exist leaving no space for contemplation or comprehension; Did not so much as wring from him/ A wandering “Alas”. This is the cognizance of life’s reality such that we are most likely to be dependent on something that is entirely “responsible to nought” possibly out of desperation, agony and hopelessness. However helpless, the poet claims not to forget this uncertainty of life and the instability and nothingness of the world we live in, that despite the mere hope and expectations something might provide us during our lifetime, too much indulgence and gratification would only lead us to our demise.

Posted in Life lessons, Nature, Poetry

This bowl, life, that we fill and fill

Despite the numerous developments in technology and science that have contributed in the human’s favor serving the purpose of facilitating our life and in discovering places past the milky way striving to perceive our identity and to satisfy our hearts with knowledge of the unknown; Carol Ann Duffy certifies that man is nevertheless imprisoned in this prison called life.

An apple’s soft thump on the grass, somewhen
in this place. What was it? Beauty of Bath.
What was it? Yellow, vermillion, round, big, splendid;
already escaping the edge of itself,
like the mantra of bees,
like the notes of rosemary, tarragon, thyme.
Poppies scumble their colour onto the air,
now and there, here, then and again.

the heart’s impulse to cherish; thus,
a woman petalling paint onto a plate –
cornflower blue –
as the years pressed out her own violet ghost;
that slow brush of vanishing cloud on the sky.

And the dragonfly’s talent for turquoise.
And the goldfish art of the pond.
And the open windows calling the garden in.

This bowl, life, that we fill and fill.

The poem begins with a soft image of an apple falling, providing the reader a first-hand experience in an orchard. The poet then continues to specify his details of the apple combining visual, auditory, olfactory, gustatory, tactile images ” Yellow, vermillion, round, big, splendid”. All these images contribute to the reader with a more realistic and ecstatic experience. ” already escaping the edge of itself “; the apple is observed to be in its full ripe state that it gives us the image that were the apple to be on the tree for any longer, it would burst out of itself, and therefore it was the perfect moment for the “apple’s soft thump on the grass”.

The poet than compares this fully ripe apple that is almost about to burst with “mantra of bees”, an auditory image, coupled with “notes of rosemary, tarragon, thyme./ Poppies scumble their colour onto the air” all of which facilitates us with a realistic view of an orchard and the poet further uses these images to articulate the beauty of nature and its many wonders time and time immemorial for she uses “now and there, here, then and again” to depict the constant unchanging and perpetuate beauty of nature. The poet cries; “Alive-alive-oh” suggesting the ecstasy and joy she feels in observing the orchard and the “heart’s impulse to cherish ” suggesting that she feels alive and heartily cherished  also implying the fact that she might have not being so alive and fresh or joyful until now. This indication provides us with the past of the poet and hints at what might follow in the succeeding stanzas.

She then  bears a personal tone, ” a woman petalling paint onto a plate” in which the “woman” could possibly signify  the poet herself and “petalling” is indeed a combined word that generally gives the image of a woman painting in the orchard. As much as the poet celebrates nature and share its joy, she also uses imagery to indicate a bleak, darker meaning. “years pressed out her own violet ghost” carries a far more personal note with violet possibly indicating the time of day being dusk and thereby this visual imagery of the violet sky at dusk is synonymous with the woman who has now grown old as she is swept away in this tide of time. This imagery is further affirmed through the next line where she is now feeble and old and therefore her brush paints very slowly on the paper and her old age is probably signified through the “vanishing cloud” indicating separation, distanced and drawing to an end.

There is once again a shift of tones in the latter part from that of a melancholic to a more realistic tone through the imagery of nature. The poem in last line; “”the bowl, life, that we fill and fill” is a metaphor for life that enlightens its readers with the true realization of reality. She compares our life that is adorned by numerous facilities, people and joy to a fish bowl; imprisoned and no escape.

The poet discloses us the reality of life, that regardless of the many things we strive to achieve; “fill and fill”, we are all confined and restricted, imprisoned by the society in many ways such as traditions,  rules, regulations, procedures, customs, culture and even people and from which, escape is inevitable. This as opposed to the beauty of nature and the joy it gives, is the bitter truth of life and thereby realizing this reality of life, the poet seem to indulge herself in the wonders of nature.