Floating Island

By Dorothy Wordsworth 1771–1855 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.

Discover this poem’s context and related poetry, articles, and media.

Poet Dorothy Wordsworth 1771–1855

POET’S REGION England

SCHOOL / PERIOD Romantic

Subjects Nature, Landscapes & Pastorals, Seas, Rivers, & Streams, Animals

Poetic Terms Rhymed Stanza

 Dorothy  Wordsworth

Biography

Born in Cumberland, British Romantic poet and prose writer Dorothy Wordsworth was the third of five children. Her mother died when Wordsworth was six, and she moved to Halifax to live with her aunt. In 1781 she enrolled in Hipperholme Boarding School. When her father died in 1783, the family’s financial situation worsened and the children were sent to live with their uncles. Wordsworth changed schools, entering Miss Medlin’s . . .

Continue reading this biography

Poem Categorization

SUBJECT Nature, Landscapes & Pastorals, Seas, Rivers, & Streams, Animals

POET’S REGION England

SCHOOL / PERIOD Romantic

Poetic Terms Rhymed Stanza

Report a problem with this poem

Originally appeared in Poetry magazine.

This poem has learning resources.

This poem is good for children.

This poem has related video.

This poem has related audio.