On the last Thursday of each month Poetry Spotlight will share some of my favourite poems. This will include poems which have impacted on me at various stages of my life and poetry I have discovered on Social Media, through the excellent blogs I read daily.
The first poem in this feature is William Wordsworth’s, Composed Upon Westminster Bridge, September 3, 1802.
The poem has meaning for me for several reasons. I was born 10 miles from Wordsworth’s birthplace in the Lake District. His poetry was a part of the school curriculum and this was one of his first poems I was introduced to.
As a young boy, the poem would bring visions of standing on Westminster Bridge, savouring Wordsworth’s view across the Thames and the lure and bright lights of London. Little did I know that in February 1983 the visions would become reality when I became a police officer in the city.
Over the next 30 years I lost count of the number of times I stood on Westminster Bridge and recited the words of the poem. As time progressed the meaning of the poem changed as, through my work, I was exposed to the dark underbelly hidden in London.
Standing on the bridge, watching the Thames flow by and replaying Wordsworth’s vision, in 1802, always brought a sense of peace and calm, a reminder there were still great things to savour about the metropolis.
Over 200 years later London has changed from the one Wordsworth saw and wrote about. The houses never sleep and the mighty heart is never still. Enjoy.
Earth has not anything to show more fair:
Dull would he be of soul who could pass by
A sight so touching in its majesty:
This City now doth, like a garment, wear
The beauty of the morning; silent, bare,
Ships, towers, domes, theatres, and temples lie
Open unto the fields, and to the sky;
All bright and glittering in the smokeless air.
Never did sun more beautifully steep
In his first splendour, valley, rock, or hill;
Ne’er saw I, never felt, a calm so deep!
The river glideth at his own sweet will:
Dear God! the very houses seem asleep;
And all that mighty heart is lying still!
Do you have a favourite poem you would like featured in Poetry Spotlight? Please let me know.