Of all the poetry I read way back when, while in high-school this sonnet written by William Wordsworth around 1806, is the only one from which I can still remember any lines.
I never really liked poetry, until well after I had left school and started deciphering and understanding (sort off) the lyrics of my favorite songs. But this sonnet impressed me so much because of a simple observation by Wordsworth; that the irreligious may have a much greater understanding of, and appreciation for the natural world.
The lines from Wordsworth that are still indellibly etched in my memory are “Getting and spending, we lay waste our powers” and “I’d rather be a Pagan suckled…” That’s it, but heres the rest:
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!
The 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 wreathed horn.