How do poems 'Daffodils' by William Wordsworth and 'Miracle on St. David's Day' by Gillian Clarke, use the themes of daffodils to explore human emotions?

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How do poems ‘Daffodils’ by William Wordsworth and ‘Miracle on St. David’s Day’ by Gillian Clarke, use the themes of daffodils to explore human emotions?

Each of the Wordsworth and Clarke poems show how the poets have been inspired to write about daffodils.  In ‘Miracle on St. David’s Day’, Gillian Clarke actually refers to Wordsworth’s poem within her own.  The poems however differ in structure and their responses to the daffodils are different.  All of the poems use personification but the poems are written in contrasting style.

William Wordsworth was born in England in 1770, Wordsworth attended Cambridge University and afterwards went on a walking tour of France and Switzerland. When war broke out in 1793 he returned to England, moving in with his sister Dorothy in Dorset.  It was during this time he discovered his calling as a poet with a principal theme of the common man close to nature.  In 1798 he was central figure in the advent of Romantic Poetry, together with Coleridge writing the Lyrical Ballads, which began with Coleridge's "Ancient Mariner" and ended with Wordsworth's "Tintern Abbey".  He spent a year in Germany, then settled down in Dove Cottage, Grasmere with his wife Mary Hutchison in 1802, where he wrote his poetic autobiography The Prelude and two other books of poems.  He was selected poet laureate in 1843 and died in 1850.

Gillian Clarke was born in Cardiff, Wales in 1937.  She writes about landscape and the rural life of Wales, as well as from the point of view of a mother.  She begins her poems with two ideas coming together.  The flash of inspiration is the connection between one thing and another.  She writes at the interface between past and present, traditional and modern.  

The title of William Wordsworth’s poem, “Daffodils”, is significant because it gives a basic theme of what the poem is to be based around.  Though it could also represent love, and how it rids the feelings of loneliness.  This is possible as it is plural, lonely is singular, daffodils are bright colour associated with happiness.  The first line of the poem shows his loneliness, “I wandered lonely as a cloud”, but after a few lines the daffodils appear, “all at once I saw a crowd, a host of golden daffodils”.  This could be  like love at first sight, and all the feelings of loneliness are lost.  This is made even more likely as the poem is written during the Romantic Movement.

My first impression of the poem “Daffodils”, is a poem of natural beauty, of a lonely person who found love in something or someone.  It shows solitariness and sociability.  The narrator is most likely to be Wordsworth, reliving a personal experience.  This personal experience seems to be based around love, and so the tone of the poem is romantic.

After looking closer at the poem I would say that Wordsworth had once, and may of become again, been alone.  He seemed to feel that he was the only one in a vast space, “lonely as a cloud that floats high o’er vales and hills”, whether this was that perhaps he lived in an area with very few residents or just that he felt alone in a crowd as he was different, may be not understood, I don’t know.  But once he saw the daffodils this feeling was forgotten, and replaced with a much warmer, satisfying feeling.  This feeling of may be love is represented by the “crowd” of daffodils in the poem.  It seems this love is all around and will last forever, “they stretch in a never ending line”.  This feeling he is feeling appears to make him blissful as the poem is more light and lively, describing the daffodils as “fluttering and dancing”.

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The daffodil are described in celestial terms, they are explained as “stars that shine” and “twinkle on the milky way”.  This could be seen as that his vast loneliness in which he is as “lonely as a cloud”, is now not so vast as there are many stars companying him.  Though he may of taken advantage of his fulfilment as he “gazed –and gazed-but little thought”, so he thought nothing of it, yet he was so engrossed with it he includes repetition.  He uses the word “wealth” as if it is like a rich person with no limit to ...

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