Tuesday, 26 August 2014

Poem for the day, Upon Westminster Bridge, William Wordsworth

My poem for the day is by William Wordsworth  (1770 - 1850) and is about London. Most of my poems seem to be about the joys of nature and the beauty around us but today I've been thinking a lot about London. Many Italians have made London their home and there are lots of articles and books written by Italians who know it well. It is a city that seems to inspire affection, people become fond of it, fall in love with it, as though it were a person. This poem by Wordsworth was written on the third of September in 1802, so over two hundred years ago. A lot has happened in the world since then but the sentiments expressed in the poem strike a chord now as they did all those years ago.

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!

In 1947 Hubert Gregg wrote the music hall song, Maybe it's because I'm a Londoner,in a different style he echoed Wordsworth's poem. There she was battered and bruised and still greatly loved. I always feel London is more of a masculine city while Paris is more feminine, but in the song London is a she.

Maybe it's because I'm a Londoner, Hubert Gregg, 1947

London isn't everybody's cup of tea
Often you hear visitors complain
Noisy, smoky city but it seems to me
There's a magic in the fog and rain.

Maybe it's because I'm a Londoner
That I love London so
Maybe it's because I'm a Londoner
That I think of her
Wherever I go
I get a funny feeling inside of me
While walking up and down
Maybe it's because I'm a Londoner
That I love London town.

People take to saying as the years go by
London isn't London anymore
People may be changing but this town and I
We are even closer than before.

Here is the link to a Davy Jones version from 1965, everyone my age will remember him from The Monkees, he was the only British member. The original version was performed by the great Bud Flanagan, so for purists, here is that link too.

Claude Monet went to live in London around 1871 and often painted along the banks of the River Thames

From 1900  to 1903 Monet spends the winter months in London and expresses his love for the city, most of all when it is wrapped in fog.

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