Morning Coffee with Dave & William

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Pondering William Wordsworth, “The Prelude” 1850

Imagination having been our theme,

So also hath that intellectual Love,

For they are each in each, and cannot stand

Dividually.—Here must thou be, O Man!

Power to thyself; no Helper hast thou here;

Here keepest thou in singleness thy state:

No other can divide with thee this work:

No secondary hand can intervene

To fashion this ability; ‘tis thine,    

The prime and vital principle is ‘thine

In the recesses of thy nature, far

From any reach of outward fellowship,

Else is not thine at all.

William Wordsworth, “The Prelude,” 1850

After a fifty-day hiatus, I finally return to The Gallery at Redlands in Palestine, Texas for the weekend! I have so missed this place, though my recent travels through west Texas, New Mexico and Colorado played their restorative roles in my soul. I thought it fitting to pack my Wordsworth “Prelude” for this weekend excursion. Before attending the eight o’clock mass this morning across the street at Sacred Heart, I felt this urge to re-visit Book Fourteen of this massive work.

For decades, I have been fascinated with the way thinkers have continually bifurcated the human experience–soul/body, spirit/flesh, Apollo/Dionysus, reason/passion . . . on and on and on. I have followed these discussions with fascination and don’t believe I shall ever lose interest. And now here, with Wordsworth, we have intellectual love and imagination. They cannot be separated, and no one can help us sort out how to let them thrive. I would not be telling the truth if I said I understand fully what Wordsworth meant by these categories. I know he wrote this piece for Samuel Taylor Coleridge and pleaded with him to understand it on the author’s terms. I hope I can do that as well, but in the meantime, I am intrigued, at what I am reading, and hope I can get to the bottom of his ideas.

In the prior stanza, regarding imagination, Wordsworth equates it with “absolute power”, “clearest insight”, and “Reason in her most exalted mood.” And then he lays out these words which truly stir my blood:

This faculty hath been the feeding source

Of our long labour: we have traced the stream

From the blind cavern whence is faintly heard

Its natal murmur; followed it to light

And open day; accompanied its course

Among the ways of Nature, for a time

Lost sight of it bewildered and engulphed:

Then given it greeting as it rose once more

In strength, reflecting from its placid breast

The works of man and face of human life;

And lastly, from its progress have we drawn

Faith in life endless, the sustaining thought

Of human Being, Eternity, and God.

Wow! Personally, I have been applying this stanza to my own reasoning life from its childhood, formal education, attempted liberation, and now my senior years. It fits, even if I am not interpreting this piece the way Wordsworth meant it. I smile as I apply the words “lost sight of it bewildered and engulphed” to my many years of education as I thrashed about, trying to find my own way through all those voices and texts. I still do not know where exactly these verses will take me, but I am enjoying the odyssey, to be certain.

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Perhaps I should have titled this entry “I Wandered Lonely as a Cloud”?

I am introducing fourteen new watercolors to the gallery collection this weekend. I have posted a few of them above. I regret that the glare of glass interferes with decent photography. In hindsight, I wish I had photographed these before framing, but–live and learn. Seated at this desk, I am looking up at them with delight, and feel warmed by some of the best memories of my life with these recent travels.

Time to go to church. Thanks always for reading.

I paint in order to explore.

I journal, feeling alone.

I blog, reminding myself I am not alone.

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3 Responses to “Morning Coffee with Dave & William”

  1. periwinkleblur Says:

    Your posts are a delight to read! Your paintings are wonderful! Thank you.

    Like

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