Celebrating Spring with William Wordsworth

“Come forth into the light of things. Let nature be your teacher.”

William Wordsworth

William Wordsworth is one of the most beloved poets of all time. Born in Cumbria, England in 1870, he lived during the Romantic Period of literature.  His love of nature inspired many of his poems, even as the French Revolution influenced him to come to terms with the realities and ills of society and life.

William Wordsworth enjoyed walking and would take pen and scraps of paper with him to record ideas for poems.  According to Thomas de Quincey, English writer, essayist, and literary critic, William Wordsworth walked an estimated 180,000 miles during his lifetime, strolling around his beloved Lake District. His walks at night set tongues wagging in his community and some thought that he might be a spy for the French Government.

Join me in reciting, “The World is Too Much With Us” by William Wordsworth.

The World is Too Much With Us

By William Wordsworth

The world is too much with us; late and soon,
Getting and spending, we lay waste our powers;—
Little we see in Nature that is ours;
We have given our hearts away, a sordid boon!
This Sea that bares her bosom to the moon;
The winds that will be howling at all hours,
And are up-gathered now like sleeping flowers;
For this, for everything, we are out of tune;
It moves us not. Great God! I’d rather be
A Pagan suckled in a creed outworn;
So might I, standing on this pleasant lea,
Have glimpses that would make me less forlorn;
Have sight of Proteus rising from the sea;
Or hear old Triton blow his wreathèd horn.


The Shakespeare FIRST Folio is a gift to our world.

This is your invitation to join me at the Vancouver Art Gallery to view The Shakespeare FIRST FOLIO.

The First Folio was printed in 1623. Mr. William Shakespeare’s Comedies, Histories & Tragedies arranged Shakespeare plays into the categories: comedies, histories, and tragedies for the first time. There were 36 plays included in this published collection of Shakespeare’s plays, produced seven years after his death. The title page of the First Folio includes an original portrait of Shakespeare, engraved by the artist Martin Droeshout. 

Without the First Folio, it is highly likely that the following well-known and beloved plays would have been lost to the world.

All’s Well That Ends Well, Antony and Cleopatra, As You Like It, The Comedy of Errors, Coriolanus, Cymbeline, Henry VI, Part 1, Henry VIII, Julius Caesar, King John, Macbeth, Measure for Measure, The Taming of the Shrew, The Tempest, Timon of Athens, Twelfth Night, The Two Gentlemen of Verona, and The Winter’s Tale.

Sea Fever by John Masefield

Poetry gives substance to our experiences, as if to help us understand the import of a specific time and place.  Words assimilate with emotional responses to produce memories that can be recalled with a vibrant clarity.   Listening to poetry we relive the moment again.

Several years ago, my son and I walked along the sandy beach of Wells-next-the-Sea.  One of the first poems that he recited as a young child was Sea Fever by John Masefield.  Sea Fever is on my favourite list.  I especially identify with:  “And all I ask is a merry yarn from a laughing fellow-rover.”  In the end, it is our connections with friends and family that make life extraordinary.

Many thanks to my dear friends, The Fab Four of Cley who walked with us along the Wells-next-the-Sea Beach. This was a very special day of friendship and storytelling.

Sea Fever by John Masefield

I must go down to the seas again, to the lonely sea and the sky,
And all I ask is a tall ship and a star to steer her by;
And the wheel’s kick and the wind’s song and the white sail’s shaking,
And a grey mist on the sea’s face, and a grey dawn breaking.

I must go down to the seas again, for the call of the running tide
Is a wild call and a clear call that may not be denied;
And all I ask is a windy day with the white clouds flying,
And the flung spray and the blown spume, and the sea-gulls crying.

I must go down to the seas again, to the vagrant gypsy life,
To the gull’s way and the whale’s way where the wind’s like a whetted knife;
And all I ask is a merry yarn from a laughing fellow-rover,
And quiet sleep and a sweet dream when the long trick’s over.

The Lady by Sculptor Myfanwy MacLeod

The Lady stands at the corner of Lonsdale and 13th in the heart of North Vancouver.

The Lady by Sculptor, Myfanwy MacLeod

Whenever I pass by this magnificent creature in bronze, I pause for a few minutes to read the plaque at her feet and say a few words of greeting. I mirror her gaze towards the Burrard Inlet and allow my thoughts to linger in the past when camels lived in our Province. My visits are a tradition that I have kept ever since The Lady’s first appearance in 2017.

Camels once traversed the Cariboo, an intermontane region of British Columbia, centered on a plateau stretching from Fraser Canyon to the Cariboo Mountains. The camels first arrived in May 1862 in response to the Gold Rush. They came from the ancient country of Bactria that was positioned between the mountains of the Hindu Kush and the Amu Dary in what is now a part of Afghanistan, Uzbekistan and Tajikistan.

Christmas with The Lady by Sculptor, Myfanwy MacLeod

At two meters in height, The Lady, created by Vancouver-based sculptor, Myfanwy MacLeod, pays respect to the last known surviving captive camel in British Columbia who passed in 1896. She used artistic license when creating The Lady as a dromedary, or one humped camel, while the original camels were two-humped.

Christmas with The Lady by Sculptor, Myfanwy MacLeod

The plaque is an enlarged bronze replica of the actual advertisement that ran in the March 1, 1862 edition of the local British Colonist newspaper, announcing the sale of twenty-five camels at low prices, to use as pack animals on the Gold Rush routes. Expectations were high for success of this initiative, but history has recorded that the camels were unsuitable for our geography. They were put out to pasture and some were able to escape into the wilds.

The Lady by Sculptor, Myfanwy MacLeod

Wynken, Blynken, and Nod

My mother, Frances and my brother, Wesley and me! (Photo Credit Dad)

Yesterday, we celebrated the 91st birthday of my mother, Frances.

It was a wonderful family time of recalling memories of the past and enumerating blessings we have today. My parents had many adventures during the 60 years they shared together. Even though Dad passed over ten years ago, his presence continues to be in our lives.

I have gone back in time to recall the day that the Encyclopedia Britannica arrived at our home. There was actually two encyclopedias – one for adults and the other, which was far more interesting and exciting, for children.

The first volume of the children’s encyclopedia was dedicated to poetry. Wynken, Blynken, and Nod by Eugene Field was one of my favourites. Join me in reciting this magical poem.

Wynken, Blynken, and Nod

Eugene Field  (1850-1895)

Wynken, Blynken, and Nod one night
   Sailed off in a wooden shoe,—
Sailed on a river of crystal light
   Into a sea of dew.
"Where are you going, and what do you wish?"
   The old moon asked the three.
"We have come to fish for the herring-fish
   That live in this beautiful sea;
   Nets of silver and gold have we,"
            Said Wynken,
            And Nod.

The old moon laughed and sang a song,
   As they rocked in the wooden shoe;
And the wind that sped them all night long
   Ruffled the waves of dew;
The little stars were the herring-fish
   That lived in the beautiful sea.
"Now cast your nets wherever you wish,—
   Never afraid are we!"
   So cried the stars to the fishermen three,
            And Nod.

All night long their nets they threw
   To the stars in the twinkling foam,—
Then down from the skies came the wooden shoe,
   Bringing the fishermen home:
'Twas all so pretty a sail, it seemed
   As if it could not be;
And some folk thought 'twas a dream they'd dreamed
   Of sailing that beautiful sea;
   But I shall name you the fishermen three:
            And Nod.

Wynken and Blynken are two little eyes,
   And Nod is a little head,
And the wooden shoe that sailed the skies
   Is a wee one's trundle-bed;
So shut your eyes while Mother sings
   Of wonderful sights that be,
And you shall see the beautiful things
   As you rock in the misty sea
   Where the old shoe rocked the fishermen three:—
            And Nod.

This poem is in the public domain.

My Zen Moment – Winter & Spring

Winter and spring come together on the vernal equinox to connect our world.

I feel the gentle touch of spring even as winter continues to be in season. The snowdrop has arrived, the winter wind has softened, and the sun is moving toward the vernal equinox that will come one month from today at precisely 11:33am EDT according to the Almanac. On March 20, 2022 the length of day and night will be nearly equal in all parts of the world.

Winter’s rest has readied the world for spring’s awakening.

The spring is fresh and fearless
And every leaf is new,
The world is brimmed with moonlight,
The lilac brimmed with dew.

Here in the moving shadows
I catch my breath and sing,
My heart is fresh and fearless
And over-brimmed with spring.

May Night by Sara Teasdale