This poem is inspired by Dorothy Wordsworth's journal.


A beautiful cloudless morning. My toothache better.
William at work on The Pedlar. Miss Gell
left a basket of excellent lettuces; I shelled
our scarlet beans. Walked out after dinner for letters—
met a man who had once been a Captain begging for alms.

The afternoon airy & warm. No letters. Came home
via the lake, which was near-turquoise
& startled by summer geese.
The soles on this year’s boots are getting worn.
Heard a tiny, wounded yellow bird, sounding its alarm.

William as pale as a basin, exhausted with altering.
I boiled up pears with cloves.
Such visited evenings are sharp with love
I almost said dear, look. Either moonlight on Grasmere
—like herrings!—
or the new moon holding the old moon in its arms.

from Parallax (Carcanet, 2013), Sinead Seadhna Morrissey 2013, used by permission of the author and the publisher.

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