William Wordsworth’s Greatest Secret
By Terrie Hayes - May 26, 2020
Saying that William Wordsworth's work is prolific is like pointing out that a pine tree has thousands of needles. Not only did Wordsworth write extensively, but he also composed single poems with stanzas almost too numerous to count, each one as remarkable as the one before. His reputation as a mega-master of impassioned language coupled with his abundant body of work is evidence that Wordsworth employed the number one strategy of all productive writers, which is to WRITE WITH FORWARD MOMEMTUM by staying in the moment of inspiration as long as possible .
Wordsworth's greatest secret is that he wrote for his heart's content. This means that he wrote about nature, and, more specifically, the nature of nature, which he enjoyed so immensely. He knew these idyllic moments could only be captured with an indulgent pause, a high sense of appreciation, and a most reverent combination of words, and therefore, took it upon himself to light this particular torch of perspective for a world hungry for meaningful content.
Quite advantageous (and deliberate) was Wordsworth's pastoral homeland. It was on this picturesque expanse of wildflowers, tall grass, and forest where he spent carefree days--reveling, breathing, and sighing--if only for the pleasure of studying the sublimity of a field of golden daffodils "fluttering and dancing in the breeze" (I Wandered Lonely as a Cloud). The intimate content of this poem reveals how truly awestruck and uplifted Wordsworth was by his discoveries and that he sought comfort in these poetic ponderings during times when his mind was less at peace.
Contrary to pastoral peace, Wordsworth lived through an era of industrial greed and monarchical control (1770-1850/England/Age of Romanticism). People were hungry for social and political change as well as for every-man artists and intellectuals that could spark and fuel those progressive impulses, individually and collectively. Artists and writers--largely centered in their passions for the purity of nature (over the filth of industry), for emotion (over reason), and for individual and societal will (over the authority of church and state)--were compelled to respond with a steady stream of relatable artwork and literature that could restore and reinvigorate a connection to one's spirit and humanity.
As a poet, Wordsworth accomplished this by immersing his senses in the poetic grandeur of nature in order to connect more deeply with the organic essence of his poetry. He positioned himself close enough to see, feel, hear, touch, and smell the objects of his affections, thus, he was inspired to write more and more. It also helps that he always had paper and pencils on hand to record his moment to moment musings. Wink-Wink, Writers!