97 The Nature of Romantic Literature

Zoë Kay

Dark ecology is a way to explain the “irony, ugliness, and horror” of ecology. This is a way to look at and appreciate not only the lush, serene, and idealistic pieces of nature, but also simple or ugly things. Dark ecology seems to interest Morton more than anything other part of nature. This the reality of Nature.

The mesh is a way of explaining the interconnectedness of all beings and the thinking about this. Living and non living creatures are all a part of the mesh.

William Wordsworth, a groundbreaking poet in the Romantic era of literature in England, focused  greatly on Nature in his poetry. His concept of the sublime, being overtaken by awe or terror in nature, is a hotspot for ecological discussion.

In his poem, “Resolution and Independence,” Wordsworth meets a very old man in the woods. The man is a part of nature, and a part of the mesh. He is found in the muddy water allowing leeches to climb up his legs and suck his blood in order to collect them and make money. This is an example of dark ecology. The leeches, a swamp, and a man so old that he is “not all alive nor dead, /Nor all asleep; in his extreme old age” are not things that typically take place in a serene or capitalist-centered environment. It is interesting that Wordsworth spends time in other poems explaining his love of nature and all of the beauty, but in this specific poem the point seems to be that his life may not be perfect, but at least it isn’t as bad as this muddy leech collector’s life. I don’t think that the ugliness of his life, although completely natural and part of the mesh, would not qualify him as part of the idealistic Nature.