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Featured Poem: Composed Upon Westminster Bridge by William Wordsworth

Written by The Reader, 4th September 2017

We're harking back to Featured Poem of yore today with a specially selected poem by one of our former colleagues back in 2012, William Wordsworth's Composed Upon Westminster Bridge.

This week's Featured Poem has been chosen by Sam Shipman, our Young Person's Project Manager, who shares with us some young people's perspectives on William Wordsworth...

Part of my job at The Reader involves running one-to-one reading sessions with children and young people. In these sessions we read a variety of novels and poetry, old and new. My chosen featured poem is William Wordsworth’s Composed Upon Westminster Bridge.

Wordsworth is one of my favourite poets, and although his poems were written ‘in the olden days’ as the children I read with say, they are very accessible, and young people are always amazed at how relevant they can be to their lives now.

When reading this poem recently with a teenager we had lots of discussion about London, what it would be like to live in a city so big and bustling after a childhood in the countryside, and how difficult or easy it would be to adapt to it. The young person I was reading with particularly liked the line ‘The beauty of the morning: silent, bare’, saying that she liked being up early in the morning before anyone else in the house to look out of her window at the start of the day. She was surprised that someone else (Wordsworth) felt the calmness that she feels at this time of the day.

Composed Upon Westminster Bridge

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

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