Sunday 13 December 2009

Poems based on entries from 'The Grasmere Journals'.

I based these poems on three December 1801 entries from 'The Grasmere Journals' by Dorothy Wordsworth. During this period, Dorothy Wordsworth, and her brother, the poet, William, lived at Dove Cottage in Grasmere. Dorothy was a poet in prose and her imaginative descriptions of the natural surroundings were a creative source for William's own poetry. Her journal entries also bear witness to the trials and tribulations of a harsh country life with accounts of hardship with particular concern shown for their friend, the poet Samuel Taylor Coleridge who wrote very melancholy letters describing his recent illness and affecting Dorothy and William's mood immensely. I include an entry to this effect after the poems.

Wednesday 9th

It was too dark to gather mosses
so we headed for Easedale;
saw Churn Milk force like a stream of snow.

The river came past at a gallop;
we walked backwards and forwards
till the shapes of the mountains disappeared.

Thursday 10th

We called at Aggy Fleming's
and shocking she looked with her hair tied up;
told us about her miserable house.
The children looked well, however,
and once again, not finding mosses,
went home to an evening of cards.

Saturday 12th

Helm Crag rose behind
the white marble ridge of mountains.

I thought of Coleridge,
his sickness, and just then
a bowl-shaped moon
flung itself through the clouds
above Silver-how
lighting up the roofs; the fields; the dark yew.

Monday 21st,
being the shortest day, Mary walked to Ambleside for letters, it was a wearisome walk for the snow lay deep upon the Roads and it was beginning to thaw> I stayed at home and clapped (ironed) the linen a. Wm sate beside me and read the Pedlar, he was in good spirits, and full of hope of what he should do with it. He went to meet Mary and they brought 4 letters, 2 from Coleridge, one from Sara and one from France. Coleridge's were very melancholy letters, he had been very ill in his bowels. We were made very unhappy......