In this installment Lisa Steinman reads “To Wordsworth” by Percy Bysshe Shelley. Steinman teaches at Reed College in Portland. Her sixth book is Masters of Repetition (St. Martin’s). Her most recent books of poetry include the chapbook Ordinary Songs (26 Books), which was an Oregon Book Award nominee, and A Book of Other Days (Arrowood), which won the Oregon Book Award in 1993. Her work has received recognition from the Rockefeller Foundation, the National Endowment for the Arts, and the National Endowment for the Humanities.
Percy Bysshe Shelley, “To Wordsworth”
Poet of Nature, thou hast wept to know
That things depart which never may return:
Childhood and youth, friendship, and love’s first glow,
Have fled like sweet dreams, leaving thee to mourn.
These common woes I feel. One loss is mine
Which thou too feel’st, yet I alone deplore.
Thou wert as a lone star whose light did shine
On some frail bark in winter’s midnight roar:
Thou hast like to a rock-built refuge stood
Above the blind and battling multitude:
In honoured poverty thy voice did weave
Songs consecrate to truth and liberty.
Deserting these, thou leavest me to grieve,
Thus having been, that thou shouldst cease to be.