Tuesday, April 8, 2014

William Wordsworth....and Ultrarunning

From the Writer's Almanac for 7 April--always a good read, and you can get daily free emails.

We learn here of the English poet William Wordsworth, who was born on 7 April 1770 in the unfortunately-named town of Cockermouth:

He was always a fan of long hikes, and in 1790 he took a break from college at Cambridge to embark on a walking tour of Europe. While hiking through the Alps, he found inspiration in nature, and later said, "Perhaps scarce a day of my life will pass by in which I shall not derive some happiness from those images." After he left the Alps, he spent some time in France during the French Revolution, and through his exposure to it, Wordsworth became interested in the "common man" — mainly his voice and his concerns. 

The connection to Ultrarunning is, of course, Wordsworth's passion for the backcountry, and his ability to capture it in verse.  Here's an example of seeing some beautiful daffodils, which are coming on strong right now here in southern Pennsylvania:

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.

No comments:

Post a Comment