In the poem "Lines", Wordsworth is revisiting a place he had been five years before. In his opening description, he draws a picture while he is retracing his steps: the rolling rivers, the "lofty" cliffs, the cottages, the orchards and a "dark sycamore" tree where he takes a rest.
On my most recent read in getting ready for this blog, the "dark sycamore" jumped out of the text. Is that a symbol of something? I thought. I am missing some obvious cultural references? Like any good English teacher now living in the internet age, I did a google search to find out the following questions. They are linked to my answers:
- What does a sycamore tree look like? (Leafs on. From underneath)
- Is it native to England? (Not strictly but grows everywhere.)
- Is it the same tree as the one in the Bible story with Zachheus? (Yes but the one in the Bible is probably a fig tree)
- What are other cultural references? (Lots of references but mostly after the poem was written: Sycamore Tree lyrics for Twin Peaks, The Tolpuddle Martyrs' tree, restorative justice program in New Zealand)