Foresight by William Wordsworth – Poetry

 THAT is work of waste and ruin--
          Do as Charles and I are doing!
          Strawberry-blossoms, one and all,
          We must spare them--here are many:
          Look at it--the flower is small,
          Small and low, though fair as any:
          Do not touch it! summers two
          I am older, Anne, than you.

          Pull the primrose, sister Anne!
          Pull as many as you can.                                    10
          --Here are daisies, take your fill;
          Pansies, and the cuckoo-flower:
          Of the lofty daffodil
          Make your bed, or make your bower;
          Fill your lap, and fill your bosom;
          Only spare the strawberry-blossom!
          Primroses, the Spring may love them--
          Summer knows but little of them:
          Violets, a barren kind,
          Withered on the ground must lie;                            20
          Daisies leave no fruit behind
          When the pretty flowerets die;
          Pluck them, and another year
          As many will be blowing here.
Strawberry flower
          God has given a kindlier power
          To the favoured strawberry-flower.
          Hither soon as spring is fled
          You and Charles and I will walk;
          Lurking berries, ripe and red,
          Then will hang on every stalk,                              30
          Each within its leafy bower;
          And for that promise spare the flower!

William Wordsworth

William Wordsworth was born on April 7th, 1770, in Cockermouth, Cumberland, England. Young William’s parents, John and Ann, died during his boyhood. Raised amid the mountains of Cumberland alongside the River Derwent, Wordsworth grew up in a rustic society, and spent a great deal of his time playing outdoors, in what he would later remember as a pure communion with nature.
His poetry originated in “emotion recollected in a state of tranquillity”; where the poet then surrendered to the emotion, so that the tranquillity dissolved, and the emotion remained in the poem.

About the poem

Floral and blissful, most of the nature picked to be represented in this poem is innocent, alive, marked by the color white (daisies, primroses, strawberry flowers). They serve both for beauty and for function, the author telling his sister not to pick the flowers that will later bear fruit – thus show some “foresight” (poem name).
“Daisies leave no fruit behind” – beautiful but with no promise.
“God has given a kindlier power / To the favoured strawberry-flower.” – functional, with a promise of berries.

Throughout Wordsworth’s work, nature provides the ultimate good influence on the human mind. All manifestations of the natural world—from the highest mountain to the simplest flower—elicit noble, elevated thoughts and passionate emotions in the people who observe these manifestations. Wordsworth repeatedly emphasizes the importance of nature to an individual’s intellectual and spiritual development. A good relationship with nature helps individuals connect to both the spiritual and the social worlds.

A love of nature can lead to a love of humankind.