In this installment, Ira Lightman reads “Ecclesiastical Sonnets, II. Conjectures” by William Wordsworth. Lightman has been publishing pamphlets with experimental presses for fifteen years. He moved to northeast England in 2000, and has become involved in both private and public art. Ira became interested in Wordsworth upon moving to the northeast (though Wordsworth is from the northwest), which he partly attributes to an improved ear for northern speech. You can visit his links page here.
William Wordsworth, “Ecclesiastical Sonnets, II. Conjectures”
IF there be prophets on whose spirits rest
Past things, revealed like future, they can tell
What Powers, presiding o’er the sacred well
Of Christian Faith, this savage Island blessed
With its first bounty. Wandering through the west,
Did holy Paul a while in Britain dwell,
And call the Fountain forth by miracle,
And with dread signs the nascent Stream invest?
Or He, whose bonds dropped off, whose prison doors
Flew open, by an Angel’s voice unbarred?
Or some of humbler name, to these wild shores
Storm-driven; who, having seen the cup of woe
Pass from their Master, sojourned here to guard
The precious Current they had taught to flow?