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Trailing Clouds of Glory

Updated: Jun 8, 2019

You are loved.

In his ‘Ode: Intimations of Immortality from Recollections of Early Childhood’, the famous Romantic poet William Wordsworth wrote the oft-quoted phrase:

But trailing clouds of glory do we come From God, who is our home.

Whenever I read these lines they conjure an exquisite image of me hurrying down York Street to the post office during lunch break, a luminous mist drifting behind me like a long royal wedding veil caught in a light breeze.

The poem unfolds the notion that humans really come from somewhere else. But by the time we birth on Earth we’ve almost forgotten this other aspect of ourselves.

However, occasionally, especially when we’re young, we see or hear something that transfixes us. It could be a bird call, rainbow light, sounds of the sea, a starry night.

Whatever it is, we’re reminded of something – but we’re not quite sure what. It’s like a half-remembered love song that slips in and out of our consciousness. These hints – these intimations of immortality – fill us with momentary, inexplicable, boundless joy. They are faint reminders that there’s more to us than we think; that we are loved not only here, but elsewhere.

Later in the poem Wordsworth implies these clouds of glory don’t just hover around us. They also emanate from us, as if there are remnants of that other place deep within that rise to the surface and spill out into the world:

Thou, whose exterior semblance doth belie Thy soul’s immensity

Our outward forms disguise the stuff we’re really made of: clouds of glory.

I can’t prove the point of view taken by Wordsworth in the poem.

But poems aren’t written to be proved or disproved.

Poems are written to expand our consciousness.

And some poems - great poems - come into the world trailing clouds of glory.

With love, Marlane

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