Dear Mr William Wordsworth,
If you were alive today, I would present this letter to you in person. It concerns your timeless ballad, “The Solitary Reaper”. I gather that you created this classic wonder while observing a farm girl reaping in the fields and singing a Gaelic song.
The poem says that you were not able to decipher the content of her song because of the language but you could feel the ‘melancholic strain’ in the lyrics.
In the course of your poem, you make guesses regarding her deep melancholy.
Was she sad for old…far-off…unhappy things? Or was it for battles, familiar matters? Or perhaps for natural sorrow, loss or pain…?
But you overlooked one big reason for her sadness that was so evident – her solitude! In that big corn field, she was intimidated by her job of reaping, overwhelmed by the enveloping solitude, and helpless due to the lack of human companionship.
The highland lass was so alone… doing cutting and reaping, all by herself. I could not help suggesting Sir, that if you would have stopped and not ‘gently passed’ by her, she would have felt better in your company. But I think you have had your reasons.
Her melancholic song resonates even today everywhere…because most of us are solitary. We look for friends in the big virtual world but all is artificial there. The touch, feel and presence of family and friends cannot be compensated with messages, jokes and ‘connectivity’.
In the real world, we are growing private, we have trust issues while making friends and we have embraced isolation rather than staying ‘in touch’ physically. We are afraid of going out in order to save ourselves from hurt. We are trapped trying to ‘touch’ others through mobile screens rather than fingers.
Even if we summon our courage and cry out, very few hear as everyone is looking and listening to their phones.
Alone we are “cutting and binding the grain”, and there is no one to listen to our “melancholy strain”. So guess, our plight is worst than the solitary reaper! She had you to applaud her Sir, we have no one.
If I were to meet you in person, I would urge you to write on “our solitary generation” too. But this time you would know the reason for the ‘melancholic strain’ in our lives. I really and truly wish you were here today to sing of our solitude.
I thank you profusely for this poem and applaud its relevance even in our world.
I beg to remain, Sir, your most humble and obedient admirer.
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