More than a Wordsworth

Above Dove Cottage, the coffin road dispatched the dead
to Ambleside and consecrated soil. Last journey of the flesh,
with rests upon the way for those who bore the box
and contents back. A time before. In Wordsworth’s day
The traffic had reversed. His body went the half a mile
to make it home. And now he’s with the others
in their private plots – a wealth of Wordsworths in a yard
of ground – father and son, daughter and wife.
A line of stones, chained off, and up against the wall.

His Town End house is now a shrine – a shop
and place of purchase on a past when words rang out
like gold or shining water in the hills. Now Names
display their praise in hopes paid homage brings
in leisured cash, and visitors whose memories of school
conceal those daffs, that cloud. Videos and books
uplift the heritage on sale. Quill pens predict
that writing still has possibilities in store.
Above, the fells. The silent graphite mines once worked
the smooth and slippery stuff that pencil makers
wrote their lifeblood in. Hard not to see the brightly
painted childhood tins, though makers and their families
are long since gone. And Wordsworth? Did he write
with pencil or the quill? Someone will know whose
livelihoods his slow and revolutionary hand supported.

His start was Cockermouth – At last I find a link.
A town that knew my father’s name knew his. Go down
the greats, and there you’ll see them play. The poet
child, and unknown ancestors of mine. Good men all.
Though dead, your words and blood were worth the
trouble that you took. I doubt that mine will live as long.

 Grasmere 2006
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