‘I Wandered Lonely as a Cloud’ and ‘The Preservation of Flowers’: two notable poems, two very different styles of writing. This essay will look at their contrasts and similarities, from relevant formal aspects, to the deeper meanings hidden between the lines. We will look at both writers use of: rhyme scheme, sound patterning, word choice, figurative language and punctuation. The essay will also touch a little on the backgrounds of the writers: themselves, and their inspiration, with the intention of gaining a greater understanding of both texts.
The structure and form of both poems is evidently dissimilar. Wordsworth’s poem follows a clear rhyme scheme: ABABCC; and contains four stanzas of six lines each. In each stanza, the first line rhymes with the third, the second with the fourth and the stanza concludes with a rhyming couplet.
Bird’s sixteen line- narrative verse does not follow any formal rhyme scheme. She describes full rhyme as being “too strident”E1 for her personal taste. Choosing instead: to use consonance and near rhymes. Despite this seemingly unconventional style with which the poem is written, it does follow an iambic pentameter, with every line containing five stressed syllables, except line 13 which contains six.
‘Cer-tain cus-to-mers, he slips an ex-tra rose’13.
This is a very clever play on words, using the term ‘extra rose’ to mirror the extra syllable in the line. This patently demonstrates Bird’s astute understanding of structure and form. She explains –
“There's a poetry joke in there too - each line has five stresses, but the 'extra rose' line has six stresses. An extra rose, an extra stress.”E2.
This again presents another parallel to Wordsworth’s lyric, where the meter is not used merely as a means of orthodoxy, but is used purposefully ‘through double syntax, to express the subtleties of their philosophical speculations about the intimate relationship between the human observer and the natural world.’
(Furniss and Bath 1996, P.82)
Seemingly the similarity most evident is the fact that both poems use flowers as subject matter. The approach and meaning however are contrasting for various reasons. Wordsworth’s is a very 'personal' poem, typical of the Romantic style, being championed at the time by him, and other Romantics such as Byron, or Keats. ‘It is characterized by the presence of personal pronouns 'I,' 'me,' and 'my,’ (Internet1). This expression of solitude is again re-enforced even more with the simile ‘I Wandered Lonely as a Cloud;’ used not only in the first line, but as the title of the poem itself. This suggests that Wordsworth wants us to grasp the emotional and spiritual state that results in man being alone with nature. The heightening of the senses: the sights, sounds and smells of the natural world in isolation. The mind begins to retune itself, now experiencing the world in a purer, primal state. A true poet would be capable of grasping these elements while retaining the...