Wordsworth’s Sonnet

Poetic Beats

Welcome to this week’s Poetic Beats with Howard Bond and Davy D recorded on the 19th of February 2018 on Red Kite Radio.

In this episode, Wordsworth’s Sonnet, or to give it its full title – Composed Upon Westminster Bridge, September 1802 – is read and discussed.  The poem was written by Wordsworth on his way to visit his wife and daughter, in Calais France. The title of the poem is another mystery of poetry, as when it was first published it was given the title -Composed Upon Westminster Bridge, September 1803. As with Shakespeare’s Sonnets there has been much debate as to when the poem was written.

If you have difficulty listening to the programme a text version of the poem is included after the sound bar.

To hear this episode of Poetic Beats please press the arrow to the left of the sound bar below.



Composed Upon Westminster Bridge, September 3, 1802


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!


William Wordsworth


Two things struck me Davy, 1. Your own ‘Peak experience’ as a constable on the beat, via poetry and the point Howie made re the contrast between the Lakes and London, how only a poet or poet-in-waiting can see beauty everywhere. Great end of week treat.

Liked by 2 people

    Thanks Nigel, I appreciate your thoughts and kind words. Glad you enjoyed it. I think as we grow into the poetry we learn to appreciate more the beauty around us. Writing about it takes us further into the experience. A few more police doors are beginning to be unlocked. Have a good weekend.

    Liked by 1 person

Nice. Kind of reminds me of Philip Larkin…

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A great ‘copper’s beat’ verse, Davy. I admit to always remembering this poem whenever I see or cross this bridge, however different the view now is. Such a great pity that it’s memory will always be sullied now with the event there of last year.

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Thank you Davy both for reading and introducing this poem by Wordsworth. It just takes your breath away. I love how one we can see beauty everywhere.
I stayed with friends in London over the weekend a week ago. As we came up from the east and drove along the embankment I couldn’t help exclaiming how beautiful it was and wished it was possible to stop. London still has a lot of magic.
Magic to think how a policeman stood there reciting this poem. Now I will look and wonder next time.😊 .

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    Thank you Miriam and I agree there is still a magic about London that keeps drawing you back. Did you get to see the bubble blowers on the South Bank? I was so fortunate to be able to experience the magic of London at different times and due to my work saw a side many will never ever see.

    Liked by 1 person

      Sadly I didn’t get to see the Bubble blowers although they poetically stayed with me there.
      My son had made the program for treating me and it was beautiful and fun. He also now knows about the bubble blowers and wondered where I found this out. ……mysteriously I answered; ‘from a London policeman.’ 😊 .

      Liked by 1 person

      Glad you had a good time Miriam. It is good to keep your informers shrouded in mystery, you never know what gems they may hide 🙂

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I love sitting down late at night (each week) with a cup of hot tea or cocoa and listening to Poetic Beats! It is a reward to myself! 🙂

Thank you for sharing Wordsworth! This is one of my favorite poems. When I take early morning walks with Cooper, I have thought of this poem…the bridge, fields, skies, hills, river, houses asleep, morning beauty… 🙂

I would love to visit London some day! 🙂

I love the personal memory you shared with us!
HUGS!!! 🙂

Liked by 1 person

I love this poem and the images it transcends. If only we could transport back in time to see what Wordsworth saw. I remember the excitement of standing on the Westminster bridge and I couldn’t believe I was really in London. Such an amazing city.

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    It is a wonderful view from Westminster Bridge Fiona and one that is changing all the time. The skyline at the moment is full of high rise building cranes with all the new development taking place.

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