Thursday, March 25, 2010

Springfield Errata: of bike rides, Mamet, and Wordsworth

I saw two signs during my first ride in Springfield this week, and both were laden with irony that made me laugh out loud. 

First, just in case I ever forget why I left advertising, let's thank David Mamet for summing up the art of the deal: "coffee's for closers!"

I guess if I wanted to get back into sales, I could start in Springfield:

Then, about three miles down the road, I stopped laughing about Mamet when I passed another real piece of real estate. Notice the daffodils in the foreground? Readers who have studied British poetry or who know my work will already be laughing, but for the rest of you, here's the bit of Wordsworth that made me nearly crash when I saw the sign:

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 leaves in glee;
A poet could not be but 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.

This poem summarizes one of the great contributions that Wordsworthian Romanticism made to Western thought: Nature can heal. It steals into our imagination and provides us with nourishment when "recollected in tranquility."

One of the lakes where Wordsworth often "wandered" was called Windermere:

No comments:

Post a Comment