Why I Love The Solitary Reaper

A couple of days ago, I read this post in Amit (Personal Concerns)’s blog – The Solitary Reaper. In fact, I’m writing this post, based on an idea that he (Amit) gave me. I studied learnt this poem when I was in 9th or 10th Grade. Even though I don’t remember when I studied it, I so clearly remember the poem, the beauty of it and how much I loved it. Sometimes, mostly while travelling, when I see random but interesting/amusing sights/people, I let my mind wander… I think of what one person must be thinking about, what kind of life another person must be leading, why someone looks happy, where someone else must be going to. Well, you get the idea. William Wordsworth, in this poem, has done something akin to it. Maybe that’s why I love it so much. Picking out a random but beautiful sight – a solitary reaper in the field – and weaving thoughts about her…wondering what she must be thinking, what she must be singing… It was just a sight, on the way. But look at the beauty of the thoughts!

And the imagery used…absolutely splendid! I LOVE (LOVE LOVE LOVE) the way Wordsworth has compared the solitary reaper’s song to some other  wonderful melodies. What struck me so much is the way he has described these different songs. The lines are written so remarkably that I could picture it all so easily. And the comparison is excellent. Imagine a song that sounds like ‘nightingales singing welcome notes to weary travellers in a shady haunt, among Arabian sands’…or a song ‘in springtime from the cuckoo bird, breaking the silence of the seas’. Can’t you just see it in your mind’s eye? And, well, he (Wordsworth) leaves no doubt about how good the reaper’s song must have been! 🙂

Then, he moves onto try a hand at guessing what the song could be about. Do I have to tell you how amazing the lines are? I’m sure there are people better qualified than me to talk about its artistry and elegance. But I can’t stop feeling awed by the sheer perfection of those lines…and the way he goes from one possibility to the other – the song could be about old, unhappy things, battles of the past or it could be about a familiar matter of the present, a natural sorrow, loss or pain (‘That has been, and maybe again’ – I LOVE that line!).  Battles and natural sorrow? Both are such distinct images  but he brings them together, seamlessly flowing from one to the other with mere words!

And, at last, after all the comparisons and conjectures, the poet continues on his way, bearing the song in his heart. What an incredible ending! Even after all these years, I still feel the same awe that I felt when my English teacher first explained this poem to us, in school. Guess that will never change. 🙂 When I sat down to write (read: type) this post, I had another idea in my head. But, once I began talking about this poem I found that I couldn’t stop. And well, this is how it ended up! 🙂 I know I’m no  great poet to speak so authoritatively about a poem by Wordsworth! But these were just my thoughts on a poem I love, what I felt when I read it.

So, which is the one (or more) poem(s) that you love so much that you can’t stop talking about it? One that never ceases to awe you? 

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5 thoughts on “Why I Love The Solitary Reaper

  1. wow…your sense of appreciation for the poem is actually deep. it flows so freely in this post. sincerely written Roshni! and thanks for accomodating my request!
    cheers!

    btw you must know by now that TSR is my favorite poem too!

    🙂

      • Since I don’t read a lot of poetry, I don’t really have a favourite. There was one about friendship that I posted during Poetry Month that I really related to. It was written by a friend of my grandmother.

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