Beauty in Nature
‘I wandered lonely as a cloud’
by Janice Ross
Suitable for Whole School (Sec)
To explore Wordsworth’s poem, identifying literary techniques and encouraging an appreciation of natural beauty.
Preparation and materials
- You will need to have some daffodils on display.
- Have available the YouTube video ‘Daffodils at Ullswater – Wordsworth Point, Glencoyne Bay’ and the means to show it during the assembly. It is 1 minute long and is available at: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0LpEDUbhc-I&feature=emb_logo
- Have the poem ready to display for the students to read. It is available at: https://tinyurl.com/ydfmpct3
- You will need the Powerpoint slides that accompany this assembly (Beauty in Nature) and the means to display them.
- Point out the daffodils on display.
Explain that you are going to play a video of someone reciting one of William Wordsworth’s most famous poems. It is called ‘Daffodils’, or ‘I wandered lonely as a cloud’.
Show the YouTube video ‘Daffodils at Ullswater – Wordsworth Point, Glencoyne Bay’.
You may wish to ask the students for their first impressions.
- Display a copy of the poem.
Go through the poem verse by verse and identify words that describe the daffodils. For example, ‘a crowd’, ‘a host’, ‘golden’, ‘fluttering’, ‘dancing’, ‘stretched in never-ending line’, ‘tossing their heads’ and so on.
- Identify the images created by words such as ‘fluttering’ and ‘dancing’.
Identify the use of personification in the descriptions ‘a crowd, a host, of golden daffodils’ and ‘sprightly dance’.
- Now, go through the poem verse by verse to identify the various settings where the daffodils are found. For example, ‘beside the lake’, ‘beneath the trees’, ‘along the margin of a bay’, ‘the waves beside them’ and so on.
- Consider the last two verses.
Make sure that the students understand the meaning of the words ‘jocund’, ‘vacant’ and ‘pensive’.
Ask the following questions.
- What do these words tell us about the effect that the sight had upon the poet?
- What kind of wealth is the poet speaking of?
- Ask the students if they have ever seen something so beautiful that it has taken their breath away. Perhaps the beauty made such an impression on them that at times, they find themselves seeing it again in their mind’s eye.
- Point out that natural beauty has a powerful effect on people, whether it is the colours of autumn, a gaggle of geese flying overhead, a brilliant white swan in flight, a sunrise or something else.
- If time permits, encourage the students to share such moments with those around them.
Time for reflection
In the story of creation, we are told that nature was made for God and humans to enjoy together.
Show the slides, which contain images of beautiful scenes from around the UK. (You may wish to add photographs from your local area and encourage the students to visit these locations.)
Thank you for the beauty of your creation.
Thank you for the peace, solace and hope that it brings to so many people.
- Psalm 23 is a beautiful psalm full of natural images. It was written by David, who later became the King of Israel, when he was a shepherd boy in the hills of Galilee.
Psalm 23 is available at: https://tinyurl.com/ya4q2ds5
Go through the psalm with the students and ask them to consider how these images might have helped David during hard, lonely times in his life.