I wandered lonely as a cloud and Clarkes Miracle on Saint David’s Day
The title ‘I wandered lonely as a cloud,’ says a lot about the poem, especially as it is also the first line. It immediately starts off the poem with a sense of inner disharmony, shown by the words ‘wandered’, ‘lonely’ and ‘cloud’. ‘Wandered’ gives the impression of being purposeless and ‘lonely’ shows that he longs for some sort of relationship. The word ‘cloud’ also relates to the loneliness and distance between him and civilisation. It could also mean that the poet is comfortable with his loneliness and wandering, just as a cloud seems comfortable alone.
It also starts off a comparison between man and nature, an idea illustrated throughout both poems. The title of the second poem ‘miracle on Saint David’s day’ starts straight off with a religious theme. Though this is not particularly shown through either poem, the fact a ‘miracle’ is a revelation is. In the first poem it is shown by the words ‘when all at once’ and shown in the second poem by ‘he is suddenly staring’. It seems that the theme of an evolution for the better runs strongly throughout each poem.
There is also a cultural side to the second title, the words, ‘saint David’s day’ might be showing welsh culture as saint David is the welsh saint. The welsh theme also applies to the first poem as daffodils, ‘a host, of golden daffodils’ are the national flower of Wales. Maybe the welsh relation is to show strength in a community or seeing the bigger picture in order to be happy. In the first stanza of the first poem it mentions a word of archaic vocabulary, ‘o’er’ something not used in the second poem.
In the third line of the first poem the recently peaceful mood changes, ‘at once’ and ‘I saw,’ makes the mood take a more excited and energetic turn. This also happens in the second poem, ‘I am reading poetry to the insane’. These could also be considered as revelations, relating both poems back to the word ‘miracle’. Throughout the second poem there is a theme of mental illness, this is not shown in the first poem. In the first stanza of second poem, it is implied by the words ‘open-mouthed’. Those words also mean in awe, in amazement of there beauty.
The word golden, used in the first poem, line 4 represents the material wealth gives little pleasure but the daffodils brings emotional wealth, which is eternal. This comparison runs through both poems, ‘labouring man’ in poem 2 remembers a poem just like the daffodils they do not cost much but can create eternal joy. Both poems show personification, ‘host’ in poem 1. In poem 2 the sun mimics the journey of the poet. At the end of the first stanza of each poem there is a change. In the first poem it seems the morbid first few lines changes into more of a positive out look.
In the second poem the end seems to be edging towards something, it seems to be getting slightly more dark and building up to something. In the second stanza of the second poem, the first line is shocking, and a great contrast to the subtle first stanza. It also creates a feeling of normality, as if the poet is used to this. The first poem seems to continue on looking at the bigger picture and making the poet seem increasingly content. It also creates an image of the great creation and child like wander. It also seems like a nursery rhyme, the complete opposite of the second poem.
The fact that there is a mentally disturbed atmosphere seems similar to like that of the first line of the first poem. Also in the second stanza of the first stanza the words ‘never-ending’ and ‘ten thousand’ gives the impression of a revelation, also tying in with the title of the second stanza. It also seems that because he is so passionate he exaggerates every fact showing his enthusiasm. In the second poem the beautiful rhythmatic group of words is stopped abruptly with the technicality of the word ‘schizophrenic’.
Going back to the welsh culture, the words ‘as many buckets of coal,’ seems ironic as the welsh coal industry closed down, leaving no more coal. In poem 2 the fact that the mental patients feel trapped and ‘caged’ reflects Wordsworth’s agony of loneliness. In the first poem Wordsworth uses old fashioned language, ‘gay’ and ‘jocund’. In both poems they seem to focus on the wealth of memories and natural happiness and less concerned with currency. In Clarke’s poem all the patients seem to be extremes, one absent, one absorbed.
The mental patients in her poem seem to be like cattle, led to where there supposed to be, then a revelation happens which leads to a rebel among the flock. This might symbolise the mans grasp on sanity. As he is a labouring man the fact he doesn’t speak might be a sign of stupidity, but that is stricken. When he repeats the poem, it reminds me of the phrase, ‘just because I don’t, doesn’t mean I can’t’. In Wordsworths poem I think he believes that money breeds unhappiness, and going back to the welsh culture as they lost there coal they had less money and more time to appreciate the world around them as they had lost there jobs.
In stanza 5 of Clarke’s poem it seems to take a more natural side. Something within him, maybe comparative to Wordsworth’s inner eye, was given energy by the natural and emotional state of the man as he stood up. In the final stanza of Wordsworth’s poem it changes to the present tense. The happiness and wonder in the previous stanzas has been replaced by a ‘pensive’ mood, it seems he’s in a state of depression. In the third line of the final stanza new sense of energy is added to the piece, ‘flash’ adds a sudden mood change.
In stanza 6 of Clarke’s poem there seems to be a deliberate repetition of Wordsworth’s phrase ‘ten thousand’ as if echoing the ideas of Wordsworth. Going back again to the welsh culture, maybe the daffodils represent the welsh culture, still and magnificent. In the 7th stanza the words ‘valleys school’ are used. They link to the coal miner as this is his memory of bliss, and in that place he had something to say. Also, before he spoke he seemed dumb and miserable, now you see he’s not illiterate as he went to school.
These words smash the previous assumptions of him being completely unable to help or think for himself. The pit closures aftermath of 1980 might have been an inspiration to the poem as many lost there jobs and became poverty stricken and in some cases addicted to drugs. The mines were closed because they no longer made money; this might also be suggesting once again that believing money is more important than happiness will lead only to misery. This seems to be the main moral of both poems.
In Wordsworths last stanza it also says the words ‘inward eye’, this might be relating to the way we look upon the beauty all around us, and the inward eye is the thing that records all the beauty we have seen and shows it to us again when we need it. Wordsworth seems to need this bliss when he has been taken away from the source of it, so the ‘bliss’ comes from appreciating it most when it’s gone. Also going back to the child like rhyming scheme, the simplicity of the sentence structure and language, ‘and’ is used repeatedly, seems to reflect the child like wonder and innocence to the world around them.
The healing process seems to be at the end of both poems, in Wordsworths it’s his appreciation and happiness, in Clarke’s it’s also the man rediscovering his inner happiness, but in this poem he’s voicing it and not keeping it to himself, Again back to welsh culture, Clarke’s poem seems to go into the music of speech and the welsh cultural identity is centred around music and dancing, making his words a performance. It seems that Clarke has a view that the welsh cultural voice is being lost and they need to regain it. This is shown by the last line of the poem, ‘and the daffodils are flame’.
The ‘flame; is the revolution and that’s what Clarke’s edging towards. They need to break free from the chains of money and voice there opinions on the world. It seems although both poems are written in a different time and style they both have a strong theme that money does not create happiness, and mostly leads to misery. Clarkes poem was written in response to wordsworths one and has merely built on the idea from a different perspective. Wordsworth seems to have been written in a fluent, nursery rhyme style while as clarkes style seems to be focusing on a hard, difficult and shocking structure.