Poem of the week: William Wordsworth – Sweet Was The Walk

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WORDSWORTH had many of his best thoughts while walking. ‘I Wondered Lonely as a Cloud’, his most famous poem, was inspired by a walk in the Lake District in 1802.

‘Sweet was the Walk’ demonstrates again the inspiring effect of a stroll. The Scottish Poetry Library and Edinburgh’s Royal Botanic Gardens are making their own contribution to the literature of spring with a collaboration, Walking with Poets, starting next month. Four poets based in four of Scotland’s botanic gardens will share their experience of the gardens using poetry, tweets, blogs, recordings and photographs which will be uploaded regularly onto a Walking With Poets website.

Sweet was the walk along the narrow lane

At noon, the bank and hedge-rows all the way

Shagged with wild pale green tufts of fragrant hay,

Caught by the hawthorns from the loaded wain,

Which Age with many a slow stoop strove to gain;

And childhood, seeming still most busy, took

His little rake; with cunning side-long look,

Sauntering to pluck the strawberries wild, unseen.

Now, too, on melancholy’s idle dreams

Musing, the lone spot with my soul agrees,

Quiet and dark; for through the thick wove trees

Scarce peeps the curious star till solemn gleams

The clouded moon, and calls me forth to stray

Thro’ tall, green, silent woods and ruins gray.

You can borrow collections of Wordsworth’s poetry from the Scottish Poetry Library, 5 Crichton’s Close, Edinburgh EH8 8DT. Tel: 0131-557-2876, e-mail reception@spl.org.uk or see www.spl.org.uk for details.