Friday, June 11, 2010

5/26/2010 – Day Nine of England Tour: Hello, Mr. Hyde.

Though I only know Wordsworth

For wandering lonely as a cloud,

Anyone whose house is now a museum

Must have done something or other

That’s historically significant.

Allegedly his Lyrical Ballads—

Opening with Coleridge’s “Ancient Mariner”

—made quite the impression in the

English Romantic Movement;

But besides that, he had

A neurotic sister, a writer in her own right—

An affair with a French girl

And (here’s the bonus) illegitimate children—

I wonder if his personal life

Was as much a headline-maker

As was his poetry.

Of his French mistress, in

“Vaudracour and Julia,”

He wrote of:

“O happy time of youthful lovers”

Ending with:

“Thus lived the Youth

Cut off from all intelligence with man,

And shunning even the light of the common day;

Nor could the voice of Freedom, which through France

Full speedily resounded, public hope,

Or personal memory in his own deep wrongs,

Rouse him; but in those solitary shades

His days he wasted, an imbecile mind!”

Bitter, much?

This is not the whimsical cheer

That shone through

“I Wandered Lonely as a Cloud.”

But then again, e.e. cummings—

You know, the cutesy guy with no capital letters—

Wrote us a plea to

“pity this busy monster, manunkind,

not. Progress is a comfortable disease;

your victum (death and life safely beyond)

plays with the bigness of his littleness

—electrons deify one razorblade

into a mountainrange.”

Discovering the dark side

Of poets thought to be happy-go-lucky

Is an enlightening experience,

If not unsettling.

Who knows what Beatrix Potter wrote

Behind the scenes of Peter Rabbit

That wasn’t rated G?

Not even Dr. Seuss was all rhyme and whimsy—

“Yertle the Turtle” was about Hitler,

“The Butter Battle Book” was about the Cold War—

But that was banned, so let’s take to the black market.

He may have penned a book on the Watergate scandal,

“Marvin K. Mooney, Will You Please Go Now!”

But this was never confirmed.

So what don’t you know your childhood icons?

I suggest you take the risk of disillusionment

To expand your horizons and discover

What passed under your radar as a kid.

It's like testing conspiracy theories

By re-watching Disney for its “secret messages.”

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