Literature & Poetry, Popular Music

From Wordsworth to Wilson

Since April is National Poetry Month, I thought I would share my favorite poem from my favorite poet, William Wordsworth, a major poet of the Romantic Age in England (probably my favorite period in literary and art history) .

William Wordsworth (1770-1850)

One of my future travel destinations is Dove Cottage, located on the edge of the village of Grasmere in England’s Lake District, where Wordsworth made his home from 1799-1808.

Dove Cottage

During his residency at Dove Cottage, Wordsworth composed much of his celebrated poetry, including my favorite poem, which was written on March 26, 1802.

My Heart Leaps Up (Also known as The Rainbow)

My heart leaps up when I behold
A rainbow in the sky:
So was it when my life began;
So is it now I am a man;
So be it when I shall grow old,
Or let me die!
The child is father of the man;
And I could wish my days to be
Bound each to each by natural piety.

The poem is brief yet extremely powerful.  I designed, created and framed a cross-stitch pattern of the poem, which I look at every day to remind myself never to lose my sense of wonder about nature and an appreciation for the simple things in life.

The connections you can make between literature and music, both classic and modern, are amazing.  Brian Wilson, one of my absolute favorite songwriters (he’s a genius), and lyricist Van Dyke Parks were inspired by Wordsworth and used the line “child is father of the man” in a song for The Beach Boys‘ legendary abandoned album, SMiLE.  Wilson released a newly recorded version of the album in 2004, which I highly recommend.  The SMiLE Sessions, a much-anticipated complilation of  The Beach Boys’ original studio sessions as well as a fully assembled album, will be released in 2011. (I can’t wait!!!)

Original SMiLE album cover

“Child is Father of the Man” – From Brian Wilson’s SMiLE (2004)

The line also appears in the coda of The Beach Boys’ song “Surf’s Up,” planned for the 1967 SMiLE, but eventually included on The Beach Boys’ 1971 album Surf’s Up and also on Wilson’s SMiLE (2004).

“Surf’s Up” – From The Beach Boys’ Surf’s Up (1971)


Leave a Reply

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

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

Facebook photo

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

Connecting to %s