The Last Poem: “The world is too much with us”

Breakfast over my computer keyboard: the world is too much with me.

Tomorrow is my last lecture on poetry for the semester. After this, we get into that race to the finish line of final projects and tests and final exams. Tomorrow is the last day we’ll go line-by-line and discuss poems. And in that spirit, after I wrote too-long discussion notes for tomorrow, I want to share one final poem with you.

This isn’t my favorite poem. (Gracious, could I even choose a favorite poem?) But as I read it today, it struck a chord in me. I felt its significance, its relevance in my life. On a day when I want nothing more than to snuggle down on the couch with cat and fiancée by our lit Christmas tree and read Steinbeck and maybe eat a piece of apple pie, I find myself dragged perpetually back to the computer, to email, to details and obligations.

The world is too much with me, and I feel myself losing my grip on the day to day, the moments I want to remember and savor and enjoy. I feel a bit out of tune with the weather, the time of day. Tonight, I will cut lettuce from my garden out back for a salad. I’ll pluck green beans from the bushes. And I’ll offer this poem as a testament to the ways I want to feel life and its magic and mystery and brilliance, even when it’s gray and bleak outside.

So in the end, a dead white guy, Wordsworth, is my farewell to this semester’s poetry unit.

The world is too much with us

William Wordsworth (1807)

The world is too much with us; late and soon,
Getting and spending, we lay waste our powers:
Little we see in Nature that is ours;
We have given our hearts away, a sordid boon!
This Sea that bares her bosom to the moon;
The winds that will be howling at all hours,
And are up-gathered now like sleeping flowers;
For this, for everything, we are out of tune;
It moves us not.–Great God! I’d rather be
A Pagan suckled in a creed outworn;
So might I, standing on this pleasant lea,
Have glimpse that would make me less forlorn;
Have sight of Proteus rising from the sea;
Or hear old Triton blow his wreathèd horn.

This post is part of NaBloPoMo, National Blog Posting Month. 


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