The World Is Too Much With Us

The world is too much with us; late and soon,
Getting and spending, we lay waste our powers;
Little we see in Nature that is ours;
We have given our hearts away, a sordid boon!
This Sea that bares her bosom to the moon,
The winds that will be howling at all hours,
And are up-gathered now like sleeping flowers,
For this, for everything, we are out of tune;
It moves us not. –Great God! I’d rather be
A Pagan suckled in a creed outworn;
So might I, standing on this pleasant lea,
Have glimpses that would make me less forlorn;
Have sight of Proteus rising from the sea;
Or hear old Triton blow his wreathèd horn.

 – William Wordsworth

The other day I was driving down the freeway, flanked by generic stucco buildings on either side of me, surrounded with billboards and advertisements and chain link fences until it was all I could breathe in, and the opening line of this poem suddenly came to me.

The world is too much with us.

I feel this, often. It’s so hard to get away from everything, even when you want to. I crave a quiet space in the middle of the woods, the air thick with the scent of damp earth. I crave a place where I could turn in a circle and only see trees and ferns and moss, view uninterrupted by buildings or manmade debris. Not forever, just for a little while – a place to breathe and recollect. Sometimes the craving is so strong I can almost feel it, a phantom pain inside me.


2 thoughts on “The World Is Too Much With Us

  1. Amen! I don’t have a car so, getting to the wild places, unfortunately, requiring a car, is a little difficult. I try to see the wild outside my bedroom window, in the little ferns sprouting from damp bark dust. Thanks for the post (and the poem)!

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