When the World is Too Much With Us

Does anyone remember William Wordsworth’s famous poem, “The World is Too Much With Us?” Here it is:

“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.”
So what exactly does this mean? Given today’s events and the general disharmony nearly everywhere on the planet, the world really does feel too much for us all. No one seems to be happy, there is doom and gloom in too many places, people are fighting over ridiculous things, people who should know better are lying, cheating and stealing, and the list goes on.
What is happening to us all? When you think of the sheer vastness of the universe (and who’s to say that there is only one? Personally, I think that there are billions of universes we know nothing of; all teaming with life), isn’t it possible that there are planets with sentient life just like ours?
Of course, all this is not the meaning of this famous and thought-provoking poem. To me anyway, this poem speaks of precious time lost by worrying, trying to out-do each other, complaining about useless things, and ignoring all the gifts we have been given. So how can we move softly and safely out of all the sturm and drang that is in our lives each day?
My guess would be to make an effort to see what is still good, what is still positive and what is still happiness in our lives. The bad things that are happening now are scary and terrible, which makes it more important to be a source of light, of joy, of faith and of the power of kindness. It isn’t that hard to do, either. We can choose to look at the good things in our lives, the people we love; even the ones that have gone on but have left a gracious legacy of kindness and hope for us.
We must not let the angst, fear, hatred and doubt cloud our minds. As bad as things may be, there is always something to be thankful for; it can be the smallest thing. But if that small thing is positive and kind, it will help dissipate the anger, fear, doubt and worry. One of my uncles (now gone) used to always say, “it could be worse.”
I used to roll my eyes at that one, but now that I am nearly as old as he was then, I get it.
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One thought on “When the World is Too Much With Us

  1. pamkirst2014 says:

    My son’s favorite rejoinder is, “It could be worse. It could be raining…”

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