Poetry Review: “Lines Written in Early Spring” by William Wordsworth

wordsworthSpring has been slow in coming to the North Country this year. Snowstorms lingered into the first weeks of May and ice held onto lakes until recently. Winter seemed determined to do its best to cancel spring, yet the birds returned anyway.

One morning this week, we had an Indigo Bunting, a couple pairs of Goldfinches, and a Cardinal at the feeders at the same time. So much color on a gray day is a blessing indeed.

Here is a poem by Wordsworth about spring and birds and so much more.

Enjoy!

 

Lines Written in Early Spring

I heard a thousand blended notes,
While in a grove I sate reclined,
In that sweet mood when pleasant thoughts
Bring sad thoughts to the mind.

 

To her fair works did Nature link
The human soul that through me ran;
And much it grieved my heart to think
What man has made of man.

 

Through primrose tufts, in that green bower,
The periwinkle trailed its wreaths;
And ’tis my faith that every flower
Enjoys the air it breathes.

 

The birds around me hopped and played,
Their thoughts I cannot measure:—
But the least motion which they made
It seemed a thrill of pleasure.

 

The budding twigs spread out their fan,
To catch the breezy air;
And I must think, do all I can,
That there was pleasure there.

 

If this belief from heaven be sent,
If such be Nature’s holy plan,
Have I not reason to lament
What man has made of man?

 

Listening with a pencil and my ear, these are the lines I marked:

 

The birds around me hopped and played,
Their thoughts I cannot measure:—
But the least motion which they made
It seemed a thrill of pleasure.

 

I love this poem by Wordsworth.  These lines come back to me quite often when I am watching birds.

Reading this poem one cannot help but think of the famous query from the Westminister Catechism: ”Question: What is the chief end of man? Answer. Man’s chief end is to glorify God, and to enjoy him for ever.”

The other line that comes to me when reading this poem is Wallace Steven’s quote about poets: ”A poet looks at the world the way a man looks at a woman.”

  

 

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