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Comparing The Daffodils By William Wordsworth And Miracle On St. David's Day By Gillian Clarke

1425 words - 6 pages

Comparing The Daffodils by William Wordsworth and Miracle on St. David's Day by Gillian Clarke

In this essay I will attempt to compare two very contrasting poems,
William Wordsworth’s `The Daffodils' which was written in pre 1900s
and Gillian Clarke’s ‘Miracle on St David's Day’, written in the 20th
century. Strangely enough Gillian Clarke’s ‘Miracle on St David's day’
was actually inspired by ‘The Daffodils’. In 1804 William Wordsworth
wrote ‘a masterpiece’, two years after his experience with the
daffodils, while the poem “Miracle on St. David’s Day” was written by
Gillian Clarke around 1980, one hundred and seventy-six years after
The Daffodils was.

Wordsworth was born on 7 April 1770 in Cockermouth, Cumberland, and
raised around the mountains of Cumberland around the River Derwent.
It was here that he would have been in ‘pure communication’ with
nature and this was probably the inspiration for most of his poems.

Gillian Clarke was born in Wales in 1937. Her parents spoke only
Welsh but she learned to speak English as well as Welsh and currently
lives in Tallgarreg, Wales, where she breeds sheep with her architect
husband, daughter and two sons.

The poems have many differences and similarities. I plan to write
about some of them in this essay. The poems are set in two different
places. ‘The Daffodils’ was written when Wordsworth was out walking
on his own, in Gowbarrow Park, by the River Ullswater – which was
obviously outside. ‘Miracle on St. David’s Day was written in a
mental institution – an indoor setting. This has an effect on the way
each poem is written. Both are written about the human mind, memory
and imagination, and I think that writing about these subjects would
have been quite hard to do. Both poems capture the central characters
- the poet and the elected mute - trapped in their own minds. In ‘The
Daffodils’ Wordsworth is ‘wandering like a cloud’, but the mental
patients are described as ‘not seeing, not feeling’ in Clarke’s poem;
conveying that they are trapped in their own bodies and are trying to
get out.

The insanity of all of these inmates in Clarke’s is not dangerous,
except for the beautiful chestnut haired boy who is schizophrenic, ‘on
a good day’ and this shows the reader that looks aren’t always
everything. They are trapped in their world of absences with no
escape. In this poem, it is the rhythms of poetry that cures the dumb
man. However, 'The Daffodils' describes the power of the actual flower
to cure Wordsworth's '…vacant or pensive mood…' The significance of
the actual flower differs in the two poems. Wordsworth bases his whole
poem on them, whereas Clarke bases her poem on Wordsworth's
poem-Wordsworth is Clarke’s inspiration and this is evident in her
poem, as her opening line is a quote from Wordsworth’s poem.


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