In this installment, Rachel Blau DuPlessis reads “Composed upon Westminster Bridge, Sept. 3, 1802” by William Wordsworth. DuPlessis is known as a feminist critic and scholar with a special interest in modern and contemporary poetry, and as a poet and essayist. Blue Studios: Poetry and Its Cultural Work, a book of essays, was published by University of Alabama Press in 2006; in the same year, Alabama also reprinted DuPlessis’s classic work The Pink Guitar. Her recent books of poetry are Drafts 1- 38, Toll (Wesleyan University Press, 2001) and DRAFTS. Drafts 39-57, Pledge with Draft, Unnumbered: Précis (Salt Publishing, 2004). A poem from this book appears in Best American Poetry 2004. A new collection, Torques: Drafts 58-76, is due from Salt Publishing in 2007.
William Wordsworth, "Composed upon Westminster Bridge, Sept. 3, 1802"
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!