Recollections of Early Childhood

Wednesday, April 3, 2013

I was sitting in a creaky chair on the third floor of my London flat, surrounded by some 20+ girls, and I dare say we were all being entertained by our Professor, who was enthusiastically bearing his soul of the grand eloquency of the verbage in William Wordsworth's poem Intimations of Immortality and Recollections of Early Childhood. I remember hearing the passion in my professor's voice and feeling the power of the words that were written, and I thought "good grief, I want to remember these words. this feeling. this rapturing response to prose that has tickled me down to my bones and caused me to plead for time to stand still and with any stretch of possibility go backward to be child again." It is awing to me now, being a mother of two, how quickly my mind is drawn back to this poem. Have you ever read  Recollections of Early Childhood? It is rather long, but I will share my most favorite stanzas:

THERE was a time when meadow, grove, and stream,
    The earth, and every common sight,
            To me did seem
    Apparell'd in celestial light,
The glory and the freshness of a dream.         
It is not now as it hath been of yore;—
        Turn wheresoe'er I may,
            By night or day,
The things which I have seen I now can see no more.

What though the radiance which was once so bright
Be now for ever taken from my sight,
    Though nothing can bring back the hour
Of splendour in the grass, of glory in the flower;
      We will grieve not, rather find
      Strength in what remains behind...

I often long for the days when everything was so magical. Everything had purpose. Adventure and discovery were around every corner. A tire swing could wondorously turn into a wayward ship tossed on the billowing waves of a maddening sea storm. A grove of three trees would suddenly become a jungle abode with pulleys and secret passage ways and all would seem so swiss family robinson-esque.The garden was such a delight, with the flowers that talked and gladly imparted the garden gossip. And nothing was more thrilling and acrobatic than going down the hill on your bike with no hands, people! Bad A, right there, baby. Bad A.

I'm getting tired of getting tired of things. I wish I could again assume that ability to just...imagine. Tire swings now seem dull, trees look dead, gardens seem like a lot of work, and no hands! - well, that is just plain hazardous. I love the comfort in the last line of that stanza above, though, about not grieving but finding strength in what remains because I am so ever grateful for those eyes that taught me to see the world in another way. And it makes me so incredibly eager and envious for what I know is in store for Evelyn in this coming year. This world is going to bloom magnificently before her eyes, and while I can help foster that imagination, she is going to take it and run with it all on her own.


  1. I have never read that poem before, so I am very happy you shared it. So beautiful!! There is something so special about childhood & imagination... Reading this reminded me of the movie "Finding Neverland". Have you seen it? Sad, but so brilliant! :)

  2. Beautifully written Kendra! I love reminiscing about my childhood! Glad you had a carefree childhood (as it should be) and that you are giving the same kind of childhood to your children! You are doing a great job, even though it is exhausting!

  3. Kendra, I'm sure you have fun with your kids now. But, seriously, in just a couple of years it's going to be soooooooooooooo much fun. These times will creep back in a touch more than they do now maybe. All weekend long in between sessions I have been non stop playing with the big kids, four square. Do you remember that game from school. We draw it in the back ally way. It's so fun having bigger kids. We could play on and on and on. I love it.

    Shauna xoxoxxo

  4. Eloquently put. Love the poem, love your thoughts. Thanks for providing me with a much-needed breath of fresh air today in my tired thoughts. You're wonderful!