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  • Author: admin
  • Date Posted: Apr 2, 2016
  • Category:
  • Address: dove cottage, grasmere LA22 9SQ

Your library, these rising hills

Your reflections, these sun-dappled lakes

Your muse, these dancing golden flowers

Your wistful words, whispers of valley voices

Your fine court coat, the mossy earth

Your eyes and ears, a sister’s diary

Your heart, the swaying sycamore green

Your wanderings stilled by slate paths

Your poetry etched by nature


Hill, lake, earth, stone

Pen, ink, hearth, home


Creative Journey

Dove Cottage in the Lake District was home to English poet William Wordsworth and his family from 1799 to 1808.

The house is very small. Its whitewashed walls mark it out from the nearby grey slate buildings.

Inside, the smell of coal fires still lit on cold days, and the dim enclosed space were the first things to strike me.

In the next-door museum, Dorothy’s diary, open at the page describing daffodils, and Wordsworth’s velvet coat for his presentation to Queen Victoria, were objects of inspiration.

Thomas de Quincey, who said: “To introduce Wordsworth into one’s library is like letting a bear into a tulip garden,” gave me a key word for my first line and a theme for the whole.

I tried to imagine the location as it was. Newer houses block the view of the lake, but the hills and crags are unchanged.

In the garden, where the Wordsworths created the Lakes in miniature, I scribbled in my notebook. A version of the words written there now close my sestude.

Thanks to everyone at Dove Cottage who gave me a warm welcome and showed me round the house, museum and Jerwood Centre.



  1. Love this one! Beautiful words Michelle, and the details of your journey really make me want to visit the lakes and Wordsworth’s cottage, just a gorgeous piece of writing!

    • Thank you Amanda. It was my first visit to Dove Cottage and I’d recommend it as a stopping off point.

  2. I love this! You get such a sense of place and purpose – think the last two lines work wonderfully. I’m especially interested because a local Belfast poet, Ruth Carr, has been working on a collection of poems inspired by Dorothy Wordsworth and Mary Ann McCracken, both talented women from the same period who were overshadowed by the success of their famous brothers.

    • Thank you Therese. I learned a lot about Dorothy Wordsworth and her importance to her brother’s writing at the museum.

  3. This is so so lovely. Bravo!

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