(A poem inspired by William Wordsworth’s
“Lines Composed a Few Miles Above Tintern Abbey”)
Today I lectured on Wordsworth.
“Lectured” – pshaw!
I strutted and crowed and danced on the balls of my feet.
I pathetically attempted to convey the ebullience
that eddied through my softened heart
in much the same way that the poet seemed to reach beyond his reach
to corral with words that moment when we
“see into the life of things.”
I spoke of nature and meditation
and the place of wisdom that lives beyond consciousness.
I stretched synonyms and cajoled imagery
to see if any words were worth
the moment of experience
when soul touches soul,
mind touches nature,
all that is touches all I am.
I lifted my arms, my eyes, my voice,
as I tried to carry a roomful
of baby scholars
to the banks of the River Wye.
I engaged every descriptive power
I have ever possessed
to give them just a whisper of an idea
about the presence, the sense, the spirit
which lives in the blissful moment of
and which the poet
dared to attempt to explain
though he knew better than all of us
how futile that effort would surely be.
I tried. Oh, how I tried.
And then I looked at the rows of faces,
some blank and unreadable,
but some smiling, some nodding,
some radiating the knowing,
and I knew.
I had not transported them to Tintern Abbey.
We had traveled together to this moment,
a moment of pure connection,
that the poet would reach beyond reach
to dare to attempt to explain.