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SETTING THE TABLE By William Wordsworth and Lewis Turco

SETTING THE TABLE
By William Wordsworth and Lewis Turco

I. The Tables Turned
By William Wordsworth

UP! up! my Friend, and quit your books;
Or surely you'll grow double:
Up! up! my Friend, and clear your looks;
Why all this toil and trouble?

The sun, above the mountain's head,
A freshening lustre mellow
Through all the long green fields has spread,
His first sweet evening yellow.

Books! 'tis a dull and endless strife:
Come, hear the woodland linnet,
How sweet his music! on my life,
There's more of wisdom in it.

And hark! how blithe the throstle sings!
He, too, is no mean preacher:
Come forth into the light of things,
Let Nature be your teacher.

She has a world of ready wealth,
Our minds and hearts to bless--
Spontaneous wisdom breathed by health,
Truth breathed by cheerfulness.

One impulse from a vernal wood
May teach you more of man,
Of moral evil and of good,
Than all the sages can.

Sweet is the lore which Nature brings;
Our meddling intellect
Mis-shapes the beauteous forms of things:--
We murder to dissect.

Enough of Science and of Art;
Close up those barren leaves;
Come forth, and bring with you a heart
That watches and receives.
1798.


II. The Tables Returned
By Lewis Turco

Books, books, O books! Who needs those shelves
O'er which we have been poring?
We owe it to our souls and selves
To spurn lore. Books are boring!

It's so much better to go camping
In woods where bears are snorting
In the dark, where bats are vamping
And moose are often courting,

Where the black flies and the midges,
Not mentioning mosquitos,
Suck one's blood among the ridges
Of mountains, where the skunk goes

Foraging amid the trash --
If you scare it you'll be wishing
For tomato juice to wash
Your garb in. When you're fishing

You'll catch nothing but your clothing
And, of course, you'll fall in.
You'll tip over when you're boating --
Your cell’s lost; you can't call in,

Therefore no help will be forthcoming.
Perhaps you’ll flail to shore
Where you may overcome your numbing,
Drive to the nearest store.

When you're back home you'll take a shower,
Raid the fridge for feed,
Pull the shades on Nature's bower
And find a book to read.
2014


Lewis Turco

 

www.lewisturco.net

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