One of the most amazing things about Bob Gardner was that he could recite poetry by heart. Something would come to mind and he could rattle off a poem at the dinner table. As a burgeoning poet, I admired his knowledge in all things, but especially poetry and his ability to recall poems so easily. Now Bob’s gone, but today, the first line from Wordsworth’s “The Daffodils” just popped into my head. It brought me back to some fond memories of the man.
A couple of years ago, my parents gave me a book of English Romantic poets that had belonged to Bob. There was a bookmark left in the book. On the marked page was this poem, I’m assuming one of his favorites.
By 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 daffodils.