Poem in Two Voices

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After Norman gets his job offer letter from the University of Chicago, he goes into the house to find his father reading aloud in his study. Norman and Reverend John Maclean recite various excerpts strung together from the poem "Ode: Intimations of Immortality" by William Wordsworth: (Our birth is but a sleep and a forgetting

The Soul that rises with us, our life's Star,)
Hath had elsewhere its setting,
And cometh from afar:
Not in entire forgetfulness,
And not in utter nakedness,
But trailing clouds of glory do we come
From God, who is our home.
Though nothing can bring back the hour
Of splendor in the grass, of glory in the flower;
We will grieve not, rather find
Strength in what remains behind;
In the primal sympathy
Which having been must ever be;
In the soothing thoughts that spring
Out of human suffering;
In the faith that looks through death,
Thanks to the human heart by which we live,
Thanks to its tenderness, its joys, and fears,
To me the meanest flower that blows can give
Thoughts that do often lie too deep for tears."

First we see young Norman and Paul fishing, then older Norman remembering as he fishes alone: * Older Norman - [narrating]:
Like many fly fishermen in Western Montana where the summer days are almost Arctic in length, I often do not start fishing until the cool of the evening. Then in the Arctic half-light of the canyon, all existence fades to a being of my soul and memories and the sounds of the Big Blackfoot River and a four-count rhythm and the hope that a fish will rise. Eventually, all things merge into one, and a river runs through it. The river was cut by the world's great flood and runs over rocks from the basement of time. On some of those rocks are timeless raindrops. Under the rocks are the words, and some of the words are theirs. I am haunted by waters.

Ode: Intimations of Immortality
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| Wikisource has original text related to this article: Ode: Intimations of Immortality from Recollections of Early Childhood|

Poem's title page from 1815 collection of Poems
Ode: Intimations of Immortality from Recollections of Early Childhood (also known as Ode, Immortality Ode or Great Ode) is a poem by William Wordsworth, completed in 1804 and published in Poems, in Two Volumes (1807). The poem was completed in two parts, with the first four stanzas written among a series of poems composed in 1802 about childhood. The first part of the poem was completed on 27 March 1802 and a copy was provided to Wordsworth's friend and fellow poet, Samuel Taylor Coleridge, who responded with his own poem, Dejection: An Ode, in April. The fourth stanza of the ode ends with a question, and Wordsworth was finally able to answer it with 7 additional stanzas completed in early 1804. It was first printed as Ode in 1807, and it was not until 1815 that it was edited and reworked to the version that is currently known, Ode: Intimation of Immortality The poem is an irregular Pindaric ode in 11 stanzas that combines aspects of Coleridge's Conversation poems, the religious sentiments of the Bible and the works of Saint Augustine, and aspects of the elegiac and apocalyptic traditions. It is split into three movements: the first of 4 stanzas discusses concerns about lost vision, the second of 4 stanzas describes how age causes man to lose sight of the divine, and the third of 3 stanzas is hopeful in that the memory of the divine allows us to sympathise with our fellow man. The poem relies on the concept of pre-existence, the idea that the soul existed before the body, to connect children with the ability to witness the divine within nature. As children mature, they become more worldly and lose this divine vision, and the ode reveals Wordsworth's understanding of psychological development that is also found in his poems The Prelude and Tintern Abbey. Wordsworth's praise of children as the "best...
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