And I have felt

A presence that disturbs me with the joy

Of elevated thoughts; a sense sublime

Of something far more deeply interfused,

Whose dwelling is the light of setting suns,

And the round ocean and the living air,

And the blue sky, and in the mind of man:

A motion and a spirit, that impels

All thinking things, all objects of all thought,

And rolls through all things.

William Wordsworth


Last year I visited two of Wordsworth’s homes: Dove Cottage, where he spent the first few years of his marriage, and Rydal Mount, where he lived for most of his adult life. I had looked forward to the visits, but I did not know they would move me as they did. As I walked the terraces of the gardens at Rydal Mount, the tears flowed. I thought of Wordsworth walking those same terraces, saying out loud the words and phrases he had written, shaping them into the verses printed in my Norton Anthology of Poetry. I was reminded again of what some of those words have meant to me, the difference they have made. His words are an invisible thread, connecting us through time. Standing in that garden, it felt like past and present collapsed into one moment filled with the essence of shared experience.

In last week’s post I spoke about the power and beauty of community. It struck me later that community and relationship extend beyond the people we know; the circle is wider than that. It stretches further than the many connections we have through social media, Skype and email. We are part of communities that transcend time and space. I remember reading C.S Lewis for the first time, and feeling overwhelmed. His words gave expression to so much that was locked in my heart. It was like I’d been looking through a telescope and someone had come and adjusted the focus. His thoughts brought a sense of clarity and coherence to my fragmented heart. Words written with love and skill have changed my mind, shifted my thinking, and brought healing and promise. When I lose heart, it is often the lines of a poem or the words of a beautifully written novel that lift me and restore hope. The voices of writers long dead speak into my life here and now, and I am made mindful of the fact that I am not alone. I am held and steadied by the weight of all those words.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s