Celebrating Poetry In April: 30. The World Is Too Much With Us, William Wordsworth

Hello, everyone.

Well, we are at our end. 30 days of sonnets celebrating National Poetry Month brings us to my favorite sonnet that I’ve been using in my classrooms and citing in my writing for decades. I’m happy to end this journey by sharing William Wordsworth’s “The World Is Too Much With Us.”

As I say in the preface of the reading, I’ve been so honored to share these sonnets with you. And if I have learned anything (but I have learned so much in these 30 days), it is that the emotions, thoughts, and reflections that we have today are not unique to the generations and centuries of individuals who have faced their own tragedies, hopes, and triumphs. Universally, we have love to get us through, even when it can break our heart. Universally, we have each other to lean on, when the world just gets too much. And universally, we have hope in getting through our greatest challenges together, both in the words and strength of our friends and loved ones in the present, and in the whispered words shouted to us through poetry from those long past.

Thank you for enduring these daily posts. 🙂 Here’s to poetry, and here’s to you. ❤

as always………………………vw

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.

Celebrating Poetry In April: 27. O Solitude! by John Keats

Good afternoon, all.

Today is April 27, and we are now in our final four of sonnets for National Poetry Month.

Today’s selection is a return to Keats, one of my favorite romantic poets. Like all the good romantics, it finds the beauty in nature and, in this poem, solitude.

“O Solitude! If I Must With Thee Dwell,” by John Keats

O SOLITUDE! if I must with thee dwell,
Let it not be among the jumbled heap
Of murky buildings; climb with me the steep,—
Nature’s observatory—whence the dell,
Its flowery slopes, its river’s crystal swell,
May seem a span; let me thy vigils keep
’Mongst boughs pavillion’d, where the deer’s swift leap
Startles the wild bee from the fox-glove bell.
But though I’ll gladly trace these scenes with thee,
Yet the sweet converse of an innocent mind,
Whose words are images of thoughts refin’d,
Is my soul’s pleasure; and it sure must be
Almost the highest bliss of human-kind,
When to thy haunts two kindred spirits flee.

Celebrating Poetry in April: 19: Sonnet 30 by William Shakespeare

Good evening, and welcome to day 19 of celebrating National Poetry Month. Today is April 19, and in celebration of beginning Hamlet tomorrow with my seniors, I thought we’d read another Shakespeare sonnet.

Sonnet 30, “When to the Sessions of Sweet Silent Thought,” by William Shakespeare. 

When to the sessions of sweet silent thought
I summon up remembrance of things past,
I sigh the lack of many a thing I sought,
And with old woes new wail my dear time’s waste:
Then can I drown an eye, unus’d to flow,
For precious friends hid in death’s dateless night,
And weep afresh love’s long-since cancell’d woe,
And moan the expense of many a vanish’d sight.
Then can I grieve at grievances foregone,
And heavily from woe to woe tell o’er
The sad account of fore-bemoaned moan,
Which I new pay as if not paid before.
But if the while I think on thee, dear friend,
All losses are restor’d, and sorrows end.

Celebrating Poetry in April: 14. Renouncement by Alice Meynell

Good afternoon, all! Today’s sonnet is by Alice Meynell, a British poet who lived from 1847-1922. This poem, “Renouncement,” is in traditional Petrarchan form and captures the bridge between love and religion for Alice, as she recuperated from illness and pondered life in the Catholic Church.

Without further ado… Renouncement, by Alice Meynell.


I must not think of thee; and, tired yet strong,
I shun the thought that lurks in all delight–
The thought of thee–and in the blue Heaven’s height,
And in the sweetest passage of a song.
Oh, just beyond the fairest thoughts that throng
This breast, the thought of thee waits, hidden yet bright;
But it must never, never come in sight;
I must stop short of thee the whole day long.
But when sleep comes to close each difficult day,
When night gives pause to the long watch I keep,
And all my bonds I needs must loose apart,
Must doff my will as raiment laid away,–
With the first dream that comes with the first sleep
I run, I run, I am gathered to thy heart.

Celebrating Poetry In April: 11. Lady Mary Wroth

Good evening, all:

Tonight, I am reading a sonnet by the English poet Lady Mary Wroth of the Renaissance era. She was born in 1587 and died in 1653. This particular sonnet, “Forbear Dark Night, My Joys Now Bud Again,” follows the Petrarchan form.

as always……………rvw


“Forbear dark night, my joys now bud again”

Forbear dark night, my joys now bud again,
Lately grown dead, while cold aspects did chill
The root at heart, and my chief hope quite kill,
And thunders struck me in my pleasures’ wane

Then I alas with bitter sobs, and pain,
Privately groan’d, my Fortunes present ill;
All light of comfort dimm’d, woes in prides fill,
With strange increase of grief, I griev’d in vain.

And most, when as a memory too good
Molested me, which still as witness stood,
Of those best days, in former time I knew:

Late gone as wonders past, like the great Snow,
Melted and wasted, with what, change must know:
Now back the life comes where as once it grew.


Celebrating Poetry in April: 10. John Donne’s Sonnet IV from the Divine Meditations

Good evening, all:

Tonight’s sonnet is from John Donne, an English poet (1572-1631) who was dubbed a “metaphysical poet” for his use of conceit, a rather disjointed, but extended analogy used in his poetry.

This is Sonnet IV of his collection of 19 sonnets titled the Divine Meditations or Holy Sonnets. These were published posthumously, though he composed all of them between 1609 and 1610.

Most of the sonnets in this collection follow the Petrarchan structure.

Without further ado…. Sonnet IV by John Donne.

Celebrating Poetry in April: 5. Sophie Jewett’s A Friendship

Today is day 5 of National Poetry Month, where I am sharing a reading of a sonnet each day with my students and my followers.

Today’s sonnet comes from Sophie Jewett (aka Ellen Burroughs), and American poet who lived in New York. Jewett published “A Friendship” in a collection of poems in 1896 titled, The Pilgrim and Other Poems.

Enjoy today’s sonnet!

as always…………rvw

Celebrating Poetry in April: 3. Sonnet II by John Barlas

Welcome to day 3 of National Poetry Month. Today, I have chosen to read John Barlas’s Sonnet II, “Since I Have Known You I Have Little Heed,” written in the late 19th century. It is a Petrarchan Sonnet with a CDECDE sextet. I must give a shout out to my old friend Eric Blomquist who started a website titled Sonnet Central many years ago. It was there that I first read a Wordsworth sonnet for him, and I have visited the site often in the decades that have followed. Thank you, Eric, for your passion for sonnets; it burns still within me, and I am grateful to share that passion for sonnets with my students.

Without further ado: John Barlas, Sonnet II.

Celebrating Poetry in April: 2. Sonnet VII Elizabeth Barrett Browning

2 April 2020

Today’s sonnet is from Elizabeth Barrett Browning. It’s Sonnet VII from her collection Sonnets From The Portuguese, featuring 44 love poems written between 1845 and 1846. They were published in 1850.

This is not one of the more popular sonnets from the collection; that acclaim goes to sonnet 43, which begins, famously, “How do I love thee? Let me count the ways….”


as always………………….rvw