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Wordsworth Visits the Seventh Grade

If you’re old enough you may remember a time when as a school child you had to memorize certain poems. “By memorizing,”  the teacher said, “you’ll always have that bit of poetry with you.”  That practice has disappeared from most schoolrooms today.  Marilyn Robertson, a poet and songwriter in California, remembers memorizing poems when she was a kid, as she tells us in “Wordsworth Visits the Seventh Grade.”

We had to say his poem by heart—
the one he wandered in — our voices
droning down the stanzas, grateful
for the sturdy crutch of meter.

Standing by the teacher’s desk,
I trembled like a daffodil,
having no idea that
I, too, in fifty years, would wander

through the hills with pen and notebook
knowing chances would be slim
to none I’d ever come upon
then thousand blooms untrammeled by

the middy tires of some enormous
truck whose driver in his crowd
was never lonely as a cloud,
nor given much to gazing

and wouldn’t be caught dead
dancing with a flower.

—Marilyn Robertson


And if you want to refresh your memory, check out Wordsworth’s poem,“I Wandered Lonely as a Cloud.”


More Notes

Tim Carmody, in his excellent piece, "How Haiti Became Poor", notes that President Trump's racist policies and vulgar language have sullied the word "shithole" which used to be one of the all-time great swear words. He's right. It's another terrible power this careless President wields.