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Lay for the Day
7th April

William Wordsworth was born on this day in 1770 at Cockermouth in Cumberland, on the northwestern rim of England’s Lake District, the region that much of his writing celebrated and made known to the world at large.

Blake and Wordsworth

Two fells abut
at the valley’s head. While we climb the one,
though gravity and stepless, boggy spots
resist the aspiring tread, the other’s
head is locked in snagging mist or, clearing,
is plotted with fleeing sunshine and shade,
particoloured and sombre, the sky’s speed
registered on that brave massiveness.

The streams are so cold and so clear
that they’re dark on the stone. Mountain sheep
run from the path, mountain birds fly up
rrom the long grass, and the sun rains lark song.
Below, the force mutters in the oak wood.
Above, blunt-winged ravens circle the crag.

Climbing a mountain, while the light levels,
keep moving; you only rest for a breath.
Climbing a mountain, as night approaches,
to find at the top a place of bare stone
that the wind rushes over, and the rain
and gloom fall upon. Cloud is a torrent
from the sudden peaks. The rock is lifted
as a breast with breath.

John Gibbens
from Makings ’89-’91

The Lay Reader: an archive of the poetic calendar