Summarize "Report to Wordsworth" by Boey Kim Cheng
Why would Boey Kim Cheng entitle his poem "Report to Wordsworth" ?
In Boey Kim Cheng's poem to Wordsworth, he begins by saying in the first line, "You should be here, Nature has need of you".Then in the next few lines he describes some of the environmental problems in our comtemporary world, like pollution, smog, flowers that cannot function, few birds and a sky that is "slow moving". Then he speaks about Proteus. He says all hope for Proteus--the God of the sea-- rising is dead. He means all hope the sea( the unhealthy and contaminated oceans) is gone. He says this is because of man's insatiable greed, he actually says, "insatiate man". He says at the end of the poem, "poetry and piety fail" He means: poetry fails to awaken and save humankind and religion also fails. This poem is very gloomy. It paints a grim picture of human beings as the cause of the ruination of nature.
The fact that he says "You should be here.." is sort of hopeful, in that, perhaps the poet feels that Wordsworth could have a positive effect on this ruined natural world. The fact that he entitles his poem "Report to Wordsworth" is significant in that, he is situating himself in a long line of Romantic poets who elevate nature above man made inventions.
Wordsworth’s monumental poetic legacy rests on a large number of important poems, varying in length and weight from the short, simple lyrics of the 1790s to the vast expanses of The Prelude, thirteen books long in its 1808 edition. But the themes that run through Wordsworth’s poetry, and the language and imagery he uses to embody those themes, remain remarkably consistent throughout the Wordsworth canon, adhering largely to the tenets Wordsworth set out for himself in the 1802 preface to Lyrical Ballads. Here, Wordsworth argues that poetry should be written in the natural language of common speech, rather than in the lofty and elaborate dictions that were then considered “poetic.” He argues that poetry should offer access to the emotions contained in memory. And he argues that the first principle of poetry should be pleasure, that the chief duty of poetry is to provide pleasure through a rhythmic and beautiful expression of feeling—for all human sympathy, he claims, is based on a subtle pleasure principle that is “the naked and native dignity of man.”
Recovering “the naked and native dignity of man” makes up a significant part of Wordsworth’s poetic project, and he follows his own advice from the 1802 preface. Wordsworth’s style remains plain-spoken and easy to understand even today, though the rhythms and idioms of common English have changed from those of the early nineteenth century. Many of Wordsworth’s poems (including masterpieces such as “Tintern Abbey” and the “Intimations of Immortality” ode) deal with the subjects of childhood and the memory of childhood in the mind of the adult in particular, childhood’s lost connection with nature, which can be preserved only in memory. Wordsworth’s images and metaphors mix natural scenery, religious symbolism (as in the sonnet “It is a beauteous evening, calm and free,” in which the evening is described as being “quiet as a nun”), and the relics of the poet’s rustic childhood—cottages, hedgerows, orchards, and other places where humanity intersects gently and easily with nature.
Wordsworth’s poems initiated the Romantic era by emphasizing feeling, instinct, and pleasure above formality and mannerism. More than any poet before him, Wordsworth gave expression to inchoate human emotion; his lyric “Strange fits of passion have I known,” in which the speaker describes an inexplicable fantasy he once had that his lover was dead, could not have been written by any previous poet. Curiously for a poet whose work points so directly toward the future, many of Wordsworth’s important works are preoccupied with the lost glory of the past—not only of the lost dreams of childhood but also of the historical past, as in the powerful sonnet “London, 1802,” in which the speaker exhorts the spirit of the centuries-dead poet John Milton to teach the modern world a better way to live.
This poem has references to some of Wordsworth's poems, most importantly 'The World is too much with us', but also Wordsworth's 'Poem to Milton' and 'On Westminster Bridge'.