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Floating Island

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lyndon nicholas

on 17 February 2011

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Transcript of Floating Island

Floating Island by Dorothy Wordsworth Dorothy Wordsworth (1771-1855)

Born in Cumberland, British Romantic poet and prose writer Dorothy Wordsworth was the third of five children. She remained particularly close with her brother, the poet William Wordsworth, and the siblings lived together in Dorset and Alfoxden before William married her best friend, Mary Hutchinson, in 1802. Thereafter Dorothy Wordsworth made her home with the couple. An avid naturalist, Wordsworth enjoyed daily nature walks with her brother, and images from the notes she took of these walks often recur in her brother’s poems. Most of her writing explores the natural world.
FLOATING ISLAND

BY DOROTHY WORDSWORTH
Harmonious Powers with Nature work
On sky, earth, river, lake, and sea:
Sunshine and storm, whirlwind and breeze
All in one duteous task agree.

Once did I see a slip of earth,
By throbbing waves long undermined,
Loosed from its hold; — how no one knew
But all might see it float, obedient to the wind.

Might see it, from the mossy shore
Dissevered float upon the Lake,
Float, with its crest of trees adorned
On which the warbling birds their pastime take.

Food, shelter, safety there they find
There berries ripen, flowerets bloom;
There insects live their lives — and die:
A peopled world it is; in size a tiny room.

And thus through many seasons’ space
This little Island may survive
But Nature, though we mark her not,
Will take away — may cease to give.

Perchance when you are wandering forth
Upon some vacant sunny day
Without an object, hope, or fear,
Thither your eyes may turn — the Isle is passed away.

Buried beneath the glittering Lake!
Its place no longer to be found,
Yet the lost fragments shall remain,
To fertilize some other ground.

FLOATING ISLAND

BY DOROTHY WORDSWORTH
Harmonious Powers with Nature work
On sky, earth, river, lake, and sea:
Sunshine and storm, whirlwind and breeze
All in one duteous task agree.

Once did I see a slip of earth,
By throbbing waves long undermined,
Loosed from its hold; — how no one knew
But all might see it float, obedient to the wind.

Might see it, from the mossy shore
Dissevered float upon the Lake,
Float, with its crest of trees adorned
On which the warbling birds their pastime take.

Food, shelter, safety there they find
There berries ripen, flowerets bloom;
There insects live their lives — and die:
A peopled world it is; in size a tiny room.

And thus through many seasons’ space
This little Island may survive
But Nature, though we mark her not,
Will take away — may cease to give.

Perchance when you are wandering forth
Upon some vacant sunny day
Without an object, hope, or fear,
Thither your eyes may turn — the Isle is passed away.

Buried beneath the glittering Lake!
Its place no longer to be found,
Yet the lost fragments shall remain,
To fertilize some other ground.
FLOATING ISLAND

BY DOROTHY WORDSWORTH
Harmonious Powers with Nature work
On sky, earth, river, lake, and sea:
Sunshine and storm, whirlwind and breeze
All in one duteous task agree.

Once did I see a slip of earth,
By throbbing waves long undermined,
Loosed from its hold; — how no one knew
But all might see it float, obedient to the wind.

Might see it, from the mossy shore
Dissevered float upon the Lake,
Float, with its crest of trees adorned
On which the warbling birds their pastime take.

Food, shelter, safety there they find
There berries ripen, flowerets bloom;
There insects live their lives — and die:
A peopled world it is; in size a tiny room.

And thus through many seasons’ space
This little Island may survive
But Nature, though we mark her not,
Will take away — may cease to give.

Perchance when you are wandering forth
Upon some vacant sunny day
Without an object, hope, or fear,
Thither your eyes may turn — the Isle is passed away.

Buried beneath the glittering Lake!
Its place no longer to be found,
Yet the lost fragments shall remain,
To fertilize some other ground.
The poem follows an A-B-C-B pattern Wordsworth uses an abundance of natural imagery Wordsworth metaphorically relates the island to a world populated with people. Personification Foreshadowing Although the island has disappeared under the lake, it still exists and lives on in the sense that its remains will become one with the ground, changing form but never ceasing to exist. The island could be construed as a symbol for the cycle of life and death. The island was born from nothing and metamorphosed into a beacon of life, hosting an entire population of inhabitants who were drawn to the island and became dependant on it. This is similar to the way people come into being, seemingly from nothing, and how throughout their lives, people acrue a network of interdependent relationships consisting of friends, family, coworkers, neighbors, etc, that becomes an entity in and of itself, like an island floating in the middle of a lake. In the 5th stanza, Wordsworth alludes to mortality, showing that time ultimately brings death to all living things. She also points out, however, that death is not the end, and that although something may cease to be living, its inclusion in the cycle of of life remains unaltered. The remains of the island will help to fertilize the soil and in turn foster new growth. The same goes for people. The legacy of a person's life serves as an example to future generations and can often provide aid and guidance to those who seek it.
The End How is Wordsworth's lifestyle reflected in this poem?
What could the floating island be symbollic of?
How does the final stanza of the poem change the overall tone of the piece?
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