Wordsworth and Daffodils

Each year, around spring, when the daffodils are out, I think of William Wordsworth’s poem “I wondered Lonely as a Cloud,” written in 1804. This poem has become my prayer at every spring celebration table, such as Easter Day dinner. I grew up a Catholic, and that’s my way of celebrating rebirth and renewed hope although I don’t practice religion. I practice tradition.

There is joy and optimism in this poem that makes me soar through the clouds and see the earth below carpeted with colors. There’s a light breeze—music to the flowers—and daffodils dance with the blades of grass and release their scents of new life, which reach me, among the clouds, and I am reborn.

In the spirit of renewal, I have recently received news that permits to rebuild my burned home are at their final stage. New hope, indeed!

Enjoy this poem full wonder, peace, and joy.

I dedicate this post to my dearest friends Dolly and Robert Martin whose optimism inspire me to persevere with my writing.  


Of Wine, Tears, and Folly

In vino veritas my father used to rebut my mother each time she complained about his tipsiness. In wine there is truth. But what is that truth when wine evokes so many emotions. One of my short stories features a character who drank to escape some ineffable truth. For me, it is the ritual of twirling the glass to see the clarity of its content as it makes tight swirls inside the bulbous goblet in your hand. Follow that with raising the glass to your nose. You breathe in deeply the aroma: is it smoky or oaky? A hint of cherry or berry? Peppery or flowery? So many sensations are alone to make your head spin and anticipate that first sip. Now you swirl the elixir to fill your mouth with all the aromas and…Enough! 

I can get carried away when drinking good wine, which is what happened this weekend on my visit to Paso Robles’ vineyards. This brings me back to wine, tears and folly and in vino veritas. What is the truth in wine’s loose tongue? I searched for poetry to see what the poets had to say. Sure enough, their emotions ran the gamut of human emotions. From the macabre “The Vine-Shroud” of Percy Bysshe Shelley, to the celebratory “Soul of Wine” of Charles Baudelaire, to “The Wine of Lover” by James Thomson, to the chimerical “I bring an unaccustomed wine” by Emily Dickinson, to the glorious “Ode to Wine” by Pablo Neruda, and let’s not forget Omar Kayyam’s “A Book of Verses underneath the Bough,/A Jug of Wine, a Loaf of Bread—and Thou.”

The field of wine inspired poetry is as wide as the emotional spectrum between tears and folly. Perhaps there’s no difference between them, but just a feeling of the moment, the truth in wine, in vino veritas, a wine-induced vagary that is all consuming until it dissipates like a snowflake in the spring.

From a selection of ten of the best poems, I selected this short poem by William Butler Yeats and another poem.

A Drinking Song

Wine comes in at the mouth
And love comes in at the eye;
That’s all we shall know for truth
Before we grow old and die.
I lift the glass to my mouth,
I look at you, and I sigh.
                       William Butler Yeats

To Samir

The wine of love, like its grape, may be sweet or sour
Let this poem be the pinnace to the sweet and
Bring my thoughts to you every waking
And sleeping hour.

No toast, nor tilted bottle
Nor raised glass can be
Without me thinking of thee.

My wine is sour.

Of nepenthe fill my glass
Quench my anguish
Elixir of bliss
Sate the void.

Rapture is embraced
fondling the empty chalice.

Your wine is smooth and sweet
fingering the caverns
of your latest lover.

But if your wine turns sour,
Turn to me.
I am alone and lonely
And longing for you
Every waking and sleeping hour.
                          Antonia Burgato

Yes, that last name is mine. I’d never dare put my name side by side with the great Yeats, but I’m full of the elixir and think grand thoughts. Tomorrow my cup will be dry and my grandeur won’t be grand. Let me indulge in my fantasy.

Enjoy the poems.

The Ephemeral Nature of Power

Years ago, while vagabonding through Turkey, I stopped in Kusadasi, a city known for good beaches, memorable shopping, carpet browsing, and raki sipping. But my interest to this resort town wasn’t the beaches or the shopping, but its proxity to two ancient sites:  Ephesus and the Temple of Apollo.

Legs of stone
Didyma-Temple of Apollo

Although Ephesus, an extremely well-preserved ruins of an ancient city, is a must-visit, it is the Temple of Apollo that jolted me out of my complacent reflections on visiting ancient ruins. 

The Temple of Apollo, built around eighth century BC, is a massive graveyard of fallen stones on a sandy desert. Rising tall above the debris of massive stones and broken pedestals are Two vast and trunkless legs of stone supporting an equally massive lintel, as if offering an entrance to the sky. Near them on the sand,/Half sunk, a shatter’d visage lies.

Seeing the two columns and the shattered visage side by side, the words of


Percy Bysshe Shelley pelted my brain. Was this the site of his inspiration for “Ozymandias”? It is possible, but my research did not confirm this. Nonetheless, I made posters of these pictures with Shelley’s words between them, as a reminder of the ephemeral nature of man’s sovereignty.

I’ve published on this topic years ago, but considering the egomaniacal mindsets of many of our world leaders today, I am updating this post in the hope of jolting some complacency out of some constituents. Enjoy the poem.


I met a traveller from an antique land
Who said: Two vast and trunkless legs of stone
Stand in the desert. Near them on the sand,
Half sunk, a shatter’d visage lies, whose frown
And wrinkled lip and sneer of cold command
Tell that its sculptor well those passions read
Which yet survive, stamp’d on these lifeless things,
The hand that mock’d them and the heart that fed.
And on the pedestal these words appear:
“My name is Ozymandias, king of kings:
Look on my works, ye Mighty, and despair!”
Nothing beside remains: round the decay
Of that colossal wreck, boundless and bare,
The lone and level sands stretch far away 
                                     Percy Bysshe Shelly


El pianto de l’emigrante

La onda la va, la onda la vien
E nel pasar
La me impronta la ga cancelà

Ritorno al me paese
Cerco le me raise
Alberi trapiantai
Fruta straniera

Nel cimitero, là sul muro
Xe la foto de me papa
Pescador el xera
El mar lo ga soterà

Dondelando ne la cuna de la onda
La pace el ga trovà
Nel mar ch’el gavea amà

El me tronco ormai
Ga meso raise
En un novo campo
La so fruta in fior
Ga bisogno de me amor

Lontan mi son
Da quel paese incantado
Ma la onda me ciama
La voce nel vento
Atraversa un continente
E anca el tempo

Xe el canto de le sirene
Che me tormenta el cor
Un cor distante
Che me ciama al me suol

La onda va, la onda vien
E nel pasar
La me impronta la ga cancelà

What Poetry Can Do for You

Poetry does not exist. Music does not exist. What? You scream, “I listen to music every day.” True. But, can you touch poetry? Can you touch music? No. They touch you the moment you make time for them because these art forms exist only in time. Without you making the time for poetry and music, they are just notes and words in print. For these art forms to exist, you must bring them to life by taking the time to listen to them. Without you making the time for poetry and music, they are just notes and words in print.

The forest and the tree—Someone (other than you) might ask: Does a forest exist if nobody sees it? The answer is a loud “Yes” because the forest, as a collective of trees, has mass; it exists in the physical world and, as that, it exerts a force on you and its environment. Poetry and music have no mass; they have sound that can only be heard if you open yourself to it, if you make time for it. It’s like taking a walk in the forest. It promises nothing and gives you life. Read poetry because it makes clear to you all the mysteries in life, all the things you don’t understand. Read poetry because it opens your mind and, all of a sudden, you hear yourself say, “That’s exactly how I feel.”

Have you ever seen the desert flowers in bloom, a field of California golden poppies, or a field of yellow daffodils or white daisies and remained unaffected? Poetry allows you to see things in a way that you’ve never seen before. Just try reading William Wordsworth’s “I Wandered Lonely as a Cloud” without being moved by it. Go ahead, open this link and listen to the poem being read. Your investment of three minutes and twenty-seven seconds will be well rewarded.

Why read poetry? Because poetry is the true truth. It discovers the depth of you. In the words of the Spanish Poet Antonio Machado,

No es el yo fundamental
eso que busca el poeta,
sino el tú esencial.

It’s not the fundamental “I” that the poet seeks, but the essential “you.”

This page is dedicated to my selection of one poem a week. You will receive the poem of the week every Sunday evening or Monday morning. The reader’s job is to read the same poem every day of the week. If you can find a recording of the poem, listen to it.  But, always, read it aloud, let it touch you and let it enter your being until it moves you. Here’s a short one to make you think:

First Fig

My candle burns at both ends;
It will not last the night;
But ah, my foes, and oh, my friends—
It gives a lovely light!
                          Edna St. Vincent Millay

And here’s another one to make you a child again.


I made myself a snowball
As perfect as could be.
I thought I’d keep it as a pet
And let it sleep with me.

I made it some pajamas
And a pillow for its head.
Then last night it ran away,
But first it wet the bed.
Shel Silverstein

And, oh, there are so many to help you understand and grow.