Posted by: Tom Triumph | January 2, 2011

125. We Are Made One with What We Touch and See: Oscar Wilde

I am reading the thought-provoking “Last Child in the Woods: Saving Our Children From Nature-Deficit Disorder” by Richard Louv.

Last Child in the Woods

Last Child in the Woods

So, now I’m into nature poetry. He makes several interesting points. Beyond the idea that we are blurring the line between human and machine (do your students want instant answers, as if they are used to texting or looking up anything that pops into their head, instead of waiting?) is his pointing out how kids emulate urban styles (gangsta’, piercings, tattoos and the like, instead of coon-skin hats or flower prints). A few paragraphs about the demise of tree houses struck me and reminded me of another favorite blog, Free Range Kids. It is not the perfect text, but the ideas are worth your time.

In the text are good quotes, but as this is a poetry blog I looked for more (Louv does quote from Frost and Whitman, but I’ve got a lot of that already). So, Oscar Wilde! I’m also listening to a string of Stephen Fry’s podcasts (I’ve just discovered podcasts and now can listen to my favorite NPR and other stuff at my leisure), and since I always think of him and Wilde in the same vision we have “We Are Made One with What We Touch and See.”

Have fun with the vocabulary. In the end, does it make it more or less uplifting than Wilde intends?

We Are Made One with What We Touch and See
Oscar Wilde

We are resolved into the supreme air,
We are made one with what we touch and see,
With our heart’s blood each crimson sun is fair,
With our young lives each springimpassioned tree
Flames into green, the wildest beasts that range
The moor our kinsmen are, all life is one, and all is change.

With beat of systole and of diastole
One grand great life throbs through earth’s giant heart,
And mighty waves of single Being roll
From nerveless germ to man, for we are part
Of every rock and bird and beast and hill,
One with the things that prey on us, and one with what we kill

One sacrament are consecrate, the earth
Not we alone hath passions hymeneal,
The yellow buttercups that shake for mirth
At daybreak know a pleasure not less real
Than we do, when in some freshblossoming wood
We draw the spring into our hearts, and feel that life is good

Is the light vanished from our golden sun,
Or is this daedalfashioned earth less fair,
That we are nature’s heritors, and one
With every pulse of life that beats the air?
Rather new suns across the sky shall pass,
New splendour come unto the flower, new glory to the grass.

And we two lovers shall not sit afar,
Critics of nature, but the joyous sea
Shall be our raiment, and the bearded star
Shoot arrows at our pleasure! We shall be
Part of the mighty universal whole,
And through all Aeons mix and mingle with the Kosmic Soul!.

We shall be notes in that great Symphony
Whose cadence circles through the rhythmic spheres,
And all the live World’s throbbing heart shall be
One with our heart, the stealthy creeping years
Have lost their terrors now, we shall not die,
The Universe itself shall be our Immortality!.

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