Two volunteers at Wordsworth House and Garden in Cockermouth have shared photos and a poem inspired by Dorothy Wordsworth’s 250th anniversary.
Gill and John Conlon are taking part in a joint initiative between Kirkgate Arts and Heritage, Eden Poets, the National Trust, Wordsworth Grasmere and Rydal Mount.
The ‘Make the Journey’ project challenges people to make their way from William and Dorothy Wordsworth’s birthplace at Wordsworth House in Cockermouth, to Rydal Mount near Ambleside – the place where Dorothy died – and then to share any creative responses inspired by the journey.
Many places were set to mark the 250th anniversary of the famous Lakeland poet William Wordsworth in 2020, but national lockdowns made that difficult.
Gill said “I feel a real affinity with Dorothy, and before the pandemic, we regularly gave talks to visitors about her – a woman not recognised in her time. I thought this was a really good way to show my support for her in this anniversary year.”
Meanwhile, John wrote a poem inspired by making the journey and finding out more about Dorothy’s life:
The “shooting lights” of her “wild eyes,”
uncovered his memories,
provoked his dreams,
condemned her as his eternal Muse.
A prisoner of uncompromised devotion
cast out of the steely bones of a child,
banished at six,
hurled from the garden womb
that was joyous life,
save memories of him,
to be reborn,
conjoined for life,
married in heart and soul.
She gave him “eyes and ears”
to unmask his fantasies,
unleash his words,
garnish grim nature with nature’s grandeur,
set him to stride the fell,
unlocking its secrets
for every man.
Anyone who would like to Make the Journey for themselves can use downloadable walking and cycling trails which were created and tested by National Trust volunteers earlier this year and are available to download for free from www.nationaltrust.org.uk/wordsworth-house
People can also watch a film produced by Eden Poets and Kirkgate Arts and Heritage about the Make the Journey challenge on the Kirkgate Arts Youtube channel.