Wild Grass ii

I stood in the near-empty lot of the cemetery, a new expansion on the borders of death. I stood by their graves, with soil yet claimed by the wild grass.

My senses became attuned to the silent communion, between soles and land. The loneliness of their graves was only temporary, each passing moment my soles succumbed to the earthen mound. 

So, — I went home, and played with my nephew. He twisted and cooed at the sensation of faux silk on his skin. His feet had yet to touch the ground.


Wild Grass

There is a place where the wild grass grows,
Where, once, we were kids — and grew
Like the tufts of rogue wheat between fence posts.
There was always something, beyond the post
And we longed to get away ­­ as we grew.

But we were rutted,
Stuck on the graveled prairie lane.
These streets never changed, cracked with wild wheat,
It grows like a weed, and it always comes back.
Once, we were budded, and thought life was here ­­
But we left.
To the infinite abounds of Elsewhere.

It will not be the last
That mound of cold earth, between the plots of wild grass.
But it is the first.
And I am unsure what to say, such is the way of First.
One day, there will be many mounds where, perchance,
The wild grass shall grow, and consume.
Yet, in this moment; there is a pause that breathes such a thought.

It sinks.

Once, we were kids. Where the wild grass grows.

Feints, Form, and Diction: Composing Lines on Unprofitable Daffodils

There is a subversive nature to Wordsworth’s writing, an undercurrent of matters amiss. It is the silence in the strange gaps, and pauses he makes in his writing, like the “wreaths of smoke / Sent up, in silence, from among the trees” (Lines, 17-18). Yet, it is not a silence that is inherent to landscape. Rather, it is a silence of those tied to the landscape; it is they who “half create” (Lines, 106) their tie to the land itself. Given the “anchor” (Lines 109) that the landscape serves, it is the stationary object that holds no remorse for how it is sectioned, privatized, or tilled. Yet there are those who have faced the “still, sad music of humanity” (Lines 91), and have lost their ties to the land. Uprooted, and left with little or nothing, they are given to the fate of wandering. The grating reality of this existence, and the feeble tides of land ownership, are found in the quiet rhetoric of Lines and I wandered lonely as a Cloud.


At the time of Wordsworth’s writing the Enclosure Acts were reaching a peak. Privatization of Common land was devouring the livelihood of those who had relied upon a Common land system for agriculture and horticulture. Coupled with this was a mass exodus to urban centres in search of employment. It is interesting that one of the first comments Wordsworth does make is the “soft inland murmur” (Lines, 4) of the Wye. Tintern Abbey itself rests upon the banks of Wye, just a few miles upstream from the city of Bristol. Yet, there is no mention of this urban centre, rather the “steep and lofty cliffs” (5) that block out the sight and provide a “deep seclusion” (7) from the din of an industrial scene. Any sense of a presence is found through the “cottage-ground” (11), and the silent smoke that is sent up from the nearby woods (18). The presence of inhabitants is quite muted, and blends itself into the landscape. Rather than “the din / Of towns and cities” (26), the inhabiting presence surrounding Tintern is one that goes “With some uncertain notice” (19). Yet, that presence is not one of those who hold land here; rather, they are the ‘uncertain’ who have lost their land, the “vagrant dwellers in the houseless woods” (20). Not a single one of these dwellers is given a voice in Wordsworth’s open dialogue. Indeed, even “The Hermit” (22) is written as though that is his title. The Hermit has become one with “little, nameless, unremembered acts” (34). In a strange sense, it is as though Wordsworth is offering a reflection. For “Nature never did betray” (122) those who find themselves living within the ruins, rather the institution that partitioned the land. To that institution, these vagrants were as nameless in the Enclosure Act as they are in Wordsworth’s work. There is that disconnect of humanity, one that Wordsworth describes as a force that seeks “To chasten and subdue” (93).


How Wordsworth positions himself in regards to his work adds a further perspective toward the ideas of Enclosure. In a manner, there is an elevation past the physical boundaries that restrict, left to wander freely “as a cloud” (Wandered, 1). At a point where physical restrictions, namely trespassing on private land, were becoming more prevalent there is this elevation over that. As the poet, he takes on a position that “floats on high o’er vales and hills” (2). There is a seemingly quiet act of defiance in this, the unrestricted nature that is taken on. Further, it feels especially poignant in the words: “but little thought / What wealth the show to me had brought” (17-18). There is a dismissive tone toward the idea of wealth based upon a landscape, quite akin to the namelessness of The Hermit. The idea of wealth surrounding that particular piece of land is treated as a dismissive afterthought, driving a sort of scorn from the poet who has elevated himself above such a material view. It is an interesting role reversal from the homeless vagrants in Tintern Abbey, and his standing “upon the banks” (Lines, 114). While Wordsworth posits himself directly in the natural scene, along with the vagrants in Lines, he elevates himself over the material scene in I wandered lonely as a Cloud.


Additionally, it is intriguing that the text employs a use of feint in its structure. Tactically, it’s a jarring momentum of advance and retreat to force response from an opposing side. Just as there is a nuance with the words within these texts, there is also a method of jarring within the form of the texts; a particularly striking one is in I wandered lonely as a Cloud. The poem continually stacks itself on stringent meter, and repetitive grammar placement, until: “I gazed — and gazed — but little thought” (Wandered, 17). There’s a sudden break of uniformity in the text, and it almost forces a pause at that particular place. It is also a moment at the following line “What wealth the show to me had brought” (18), the tone of the poem shifts into a vague undercurrent of reprimand. Likewise, there are numerous instances of feint in Lines, where “hedge-rows” suddenly regress to “hardly hedge-rows” (Lines, 15). These acts of feint are found in omittance, and sudden shifts of diction and tone. At a point where the text begins to elevate in “aspect more sublime” (37) over “this unintelligible world” (40) until it finally reaches an ascension of “We see into the life of things” (48), the wings get clipped. The language rises, and rises, to almost the point of an epiphany, if not for the next line: “If this / Be but a vain belief, yet, oh!” (49-50). It’s almost tragic that these shortfalls are present in the work. “For nature then … To me was all in all. — I cannot paint / What then I was” (72 & 75). The fault never falls to rest on the landscape that the text looks over, but upon the “still , sad music of humanity, / Nor harsh nor grating, though of ample power / To chasten and subdue” (Lines, 91-93). It is the critique that humanity has done itself an injustice, to one another, all for the sake of a land that holds no capacity to betray; it will only continue to exist, despite the turmoil of severing and creating ties. Yet, this critique is not addressed head on at the very start. Rather, these moments of pressing, in an open dialogue, continually force pauses. It is the act of forcing one out of their comfort, even unto the form of the writing itself. It is not a ballad, nor caught in stringent verse. Instead, it is written as either an intruder upon the thoughts of someone, or as a one-sided dialogue. That’s the feint to build on, the force that gives weight and pause in the shifts until, finally:

“Nature never did betray

The heart that loved her; ‘tis her privilege,

Through all the years of this our life, to lead

From joy to joy: for she can so inform

The mind that is within us, so impress

With quietness and beauty, and so feed

With lofty thoughts, that neither evil tongues,

Rash judgements, nor the sneers of selfish men,

Nor greetings where no kindness is, nor all

The dreary intercourse of daily life

Shall e’er prevail against us” (Lines, 122-131)


Inevitably, when a feint occurs a point of conflict will arise shortly thereafter. Both of these works rise to that occasion, whether by the silence of “The Hermit who sits alone” (Lines, 22), or by the heavy pauses of of tone shift wrought by simple ” –” (Wandered, 17). By this, the confrontation builds, until a forefront is reached to the “sneers of selfish men” (Lines, 129). Just those selfish men have made gain over land, by the consequence of silencing others, so too does the text. In a strange sense of a mirror, The Hermit is give a name, whereas Tintern and Bristol lay forgotten between the verses. In the end, it is the images of “green pastoral landscape” (Lines, 158) and “golden daffodils” (Wandered, 4) that ring through, in constancy. There is no promise that any of these words will have an effect, after all, people are not clouds. Yet, there is a hope that the silent ‘them’ will hold the land “More dear, both for themselves and for thy sake!” (Lines, 159).

Works Referenced

Black, Joseph., and Leonard Conolly, eds. The Broadview Anthology of British Literature: Concise Edition B. Peterborough: Broadview Press, 2012. Print.


Works Cited

Wordsworth, William. “Lines.” The Norton Anthology English Literature: The Romantic Period Volume D. Ed. Stephen Greenblatt. New York: W.W. Norton & Company Inc, 2012. 288-292. Print


—. “I wandered lonely as a Cloud.” The Norton Anthology English Literature: The Romantic Period Volume D. Ed. Stephen Greenblatt. New York: W.W. Norton & Company Inc, 2012. 334-335. Print


Letters to Somewhere: September Snow

My Dearest,

The boughs hang heavy laden, brushing the ground in submission by the clumps of snow that cling to them. Like beautiful conquerors, a blanket of death that slowly crushes with masqueraded tranquility. The trees, they didn’t even have time to slumber to endure the relentless descent of winter’s herald. They were still alive, fragile in their hues of green and yellow. And like a merciless entity, winter descended early, unsuspecting. Some would call it cruel, as the hues are engulfed by blankness, and the boughs to finally crack in submission.


But cruelty is merely a word we use in our own masquerade.



The Solitary One – Anhaga


Letters to Somewhere: Part I

Dear Lilac Bush,

We seem to get locked into a staring contest at times, don’t we? You, rising over the cusp of the second floor window and swaying under snow or breeze. Me, blankly staring and hoping you will bequeath a measure of inspiration to me. You’ve always been there, curtains drawn or curtains pulled. On days when you are bare, or days where you dress yourself in blooming hues. 

It’s a strange relationship, you and I. Silent in your growing, the most I’ll get is a sway, or perhaps a breath of fresh flower. While I stare at your existence, hoping it will impart something to me. 

We do that, humans. It’s a rather strange habit we have at times. We stare off into the distance, gazing upon unique vistas with a numbered, rotating cast. There’s only so many plants, and so many seasons to stare at. Yet we keep doing it, thinking that somehow you presence will impart a spark upon us.

I’ve had some strange thoughts, the ones that percolate for ages in the back of my mind before coming to fruition in my pass time of staring. Unfortunately, the finale of thought in how you drive this process still has not come to me. 

Perhaps there is a measure to the sudden breeze of fresh flowers.

Your Most Humble Gardener,


A Canvas

My Darling,

I write you a line to tell you that I am doing well. We depart for France on the morrow. From the talk I have been hearing, I expect to be home by Christmas. The war will not last long.

It is empty here.

White walls. A blank canvas.

Bathed in the crisp light from above.

Reflected in the polished floor.

I wonder if they will stop,

at least long enough to read a line.

My Dearest Husband,

I write you a line to tell you that we are doing well. The girls loved the postcards you sent back, and I keep your picture with me. I quite like the mustache, darling, you should keep it. My aunt says it makes you look like a young officer!

I wonder about the brush strokes

How will we portray simple letters

By those who were simply people?

How will we remember you?

As a collective,

Or by the single moments in a letter?

April 9th, 1917

Return to Sender

It was the only letter in the bunch I noticed.

Crumpled at both ends.


I wonder if people will notice it.

Among text panels

and facts

and the mechanized designs that tore landscapes apart.

In country and in memory.

I wonder if we notice the simple nuances

In that which we simply call History.

Overcoming History Barriers



Possibly the most heartbreaking factors of The Great War is the Living History Barrier that we now must cope with. The living resources that were once available to us, the real people who witnessed much of it, have been lost to the course of time.

History too easily becomes a subject to textbooks and scholars and multiple choice questions when we lose these people. We tend to forget. It is rather easy to do so.

So I am grateful that there are those who create content so people of younger generations may enjoy. May learn from, and may feel engaged when partaking in them. Video games are not just about first person shooters, and the short sighted approach that is often abused. There are moments when, just like a good book or movie, they make us laugh and cry and think.

These are the moments in which we take a long breath. The moment where we realize that the world is much larger than us, and yet it is shaped by the men and women just like us.

We are not so different than the history we immortalize.