In one scene of The Enlightening, Merle mentions that the song “Green River,” by Creedence Clearwater Revival, reminds him of William Wordsworth. In fact, Merle says that the song wouldn’t even be possible if it wasn’t for Wordsworth, who was perhaps the primary figure of the Romantic Era of English literature. English Romanticism valued emotional, aesthetic experience, with an emphasis on a love of nature evoking a deep, spiritual joy, and a freedom from the stifling restrictions of society. Wordsworth famously said that poetry was “the spontaneous overflow of powerful feelings: It takes its origin from emotion recorded in tranquility.” This was the basis of Wordsworth’s famous poem I Wandered Lonely as a Cloud, which describes the frequent restorative pleasure he experienced by reminiscing about a beautiful scene of golden, dancing daffodils that he had once witnessed on a soul-fortifying ramble through the countryside.
That same spirit of rejuvenating remembrance pervades “Green River,” of which John Fogerty once said was based on childhood vacations at Putah Creek, near Winters, California. “All those little anecdotes are parts of my childhood, those are things that happened to me actually…” And so, like Wordsworth, Fogerty and his band created an enduring work of art, in tribute.
Here is a link to the timeless Creedence Clearwater Revival classic, “Green River,” with lyrics added: