7. I Wandered Lonely as a Cloud: William Wordsworth

Another classic dismissed by beat-inspired, foul-mouthed embracing poetry love/haters as their scorch-and-burn policy of creating a new canon only left behind ruins. Too dramatic? Okay, Wordsworth is near a cliche of a poet, and this poem just screams for the best minds of their generation to be struck by giggling madness (okay, they’ll just make fun of it). Go with that. Be dramatic. Let them mock it. The words, the images and the ideas will get a good laugh.

And once Wordsworth has been knocked down to size, ask them what it means.

This is an important poem, with all sorts of great imagery and language. Download the hilarious rap put out by Wordsworth’s Lake District, as rapped by MC Nut, the mascot of the local football team. Kids love a squirrel rapping Wordsworth. Dig it. For a semi-related piece try a Dalek poetry reading. It is a bit of an inside joke for Dr. Who fans, but middle school kids will think it funny (warning: you will be hearing the Dalek voice coming from students for the rest of the day).

I wandered Lonely as a Cloud
William Wordsworth

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 daffodil


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