I recently read the poem “April” by Ralph Waldo Emerson and it resonated with me. The poem draws on the imagery of spring to convey the idea that Nature and folklore can provide a person with as much wisdom, if not more, than traditional academic learning.
While the first eight lines invoke an idyllic feeling within the reader, the following lines express the idea of wisdom hidden within Nature.
Each dimple in the water,
Each leaf that shades the rock
Can cozen, pique and flatter,
Can parley and provoke.
Goodfellow, Puck and goblins,
Know more than any book.
Emerson concludes the poem by criticizing the northern universities, asserting that they neglect the knowledge that can be found in the folk tales of the American south.
The south-winds are quick-witted,
The schools are sad and slow,
The masters quite omitted
The lore we care to know.
Click here to read this poem online.