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”
“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
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!”
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.”