Sunday, December 10, 2023

#344 / London 1802 - The United States, Today

A very good friend of mine, probably my oldest friend, our friendship dating from my very first days in college, has taken up a project with a purpose. He is "reimagining" some of the greatest poems in the English language, "updating" them, and "repurposing" them, helping to illuminate their continuing relevance to all of us who are living today. 

William Wordsworth, pictured above, was one of the greatest of the Romantic poets, and he helped launch the "Romantic Period" in English poetry. One of Wordsworth's poems, shown below in the original, has been "repurposed" by my friend, especially for me. I received, in the mail, a copy of "London 1802" with certain changes, and with one change particularly noteworthy to me. Incorporated into the poem was this change: instead of naming "Milton," my friend's version of the poem names me!

As you will see, if you read the poem, that change is a rather flattering one. I did appreciate that change, and that sentiment! Yes, "Gary," you are called upon to "raise us up." Yes, "Gary" your country has "need of thee."

Upon sober reflection, if Wordsworth's poem is great (and the Poetry Foundation seems to think that it is - or at least that it is "consequential"), then what is great about "London, 1802" is not its appeal to "Milton," or (in my friend's redaction) to "Gary," but to every reader of the poem! Each one of us can put our name in the spot where Milton's name is found!

To quote a poet/playwright from Italy, Ugo Betti, each one of us is "immensely, immensely important." We each have inside of us - all of us have it - a "piece of good news." 

As my friend's selection of Wordsworth's poem should tell us - as "London, 1802" informs us all - we are needed. Each one of us is needed, and now is the time that we, we who are alive today, are called upon to help "raise up" our country. 

As Wordsworth said of England, in 1802, our country has "need of us." All of us. Now! 

Wordsworth's poem is below. The sentiment is not so different from the sentiment expressed by William James, in the "Inspiring Quote" I featured on December 2nd.

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