Have you, while reading a well polished piece of published writing, ever wondered what the first draft was like?I often do.
Take William Wordsworth’s host of golden daffodils thing; you know instinctively that he wouldn’t have said ‘host’ or ‘golden’ in his first draft. And you don’t really believe his first instinct was to be as lonely as a cloud. Of course not. He lived in the Lake District. Clouds there are anything but lonely most of the time. Most of the time they are accompanied by a host of mates, most of whom are rain bearing most of the time.I’ve been to his cottage many times, since I live only 60 miles away and I adore the Lake District. ( Many of you reading this will be from California, Mumbai, Sydney or Manchester and you should check out the Lake District on Google Maps/ Satelite)
Actually I have in my possession his original drafts of that poem and it started thusly
(This is a World first and will rock the establishment)
(Shake the establishment…rock… sounds like they’d be pleased)
In the original draft of this piece I spilled the beans but, in this the second draft I have removed it because the first draft was utter rubbish, mine and his, and I don’t want to dis the Cumbrian Bard. I am prepared to quote his fifth draft when he‘d settled on the concept of a lonely cloud but was still favouring the word ‘crowd‘ over ‘host‘.
I wandered lonely as a cloud
I’m a bit of an anorak
All at once I saw a crowd
So I hid the daffs behind my back
Anyway, to finish, here's another's view found here
There once was a poet named Will
Who tramped his way over a hill
And was speechless for hours
Over some stupid flowers
This was years before TV, but still.