Food for Future Years

(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

pure connection,

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.