Amy’s Journey

To Celebrate the Life of Dorothy Wordsworth – Explore, Collaborate and Create

By Amy Heys and The Eden Poets

Born in seventeen seventy-one,
sister to Cockermouth’s most famous son,
a writer, a diarist, she loved to explore,
create, collaborate and much more,
an adventurer and bold of heart
she did not profit from her art.
By the waters, over the fells,
this is where her story dwells.
To celebrate her life this year,
make the journey from Cockermouth to Grasmere.
Bike it, hike it,
bus or car or trike it.
Race it, grace it,
hare or snail’s pace it.
Take a week, take an hour,
take all of your will power.
Go on a hunch, with a whole bunch,
on a cheeky long lunch.
Wheel it, feel it, splash it, flash it!
Go with your Nanna, take your dog,
share your journey, fall in a peat bog!
Reach out to a mate,
we are made to collaborate.
Paint a picture, sing a song,
get your friends to sing along.
Write a poem, tell a story,
share the graft and share the glory.
Put pen to paper, it’s never too late
to celebrate! So let’s create!


Dorothy’s Locked Down 

(Dorothy Wordsworth 1835-1855)[1]

By Amy Heys

Locked in, locked down,
in these four walls.
The air tight around me,
the persistent weight of blankets,
the dusty smell of my coal fire weighs upon my chest.
The same, the same, the same.
But my mind is not confined,
with eyes closed I can go anywhere,
with whomever I please.

I imagine:
taking the steep path rising from Hollowstones
towards the col that reaches between Scafell and Scafell Pike.
The sun on my back, the great cup of the comb behind me catching the warmth,
each boulder we scramble over absorbing the sun’s rays.

Or I imagine:
I’m on the summit in a terrible storm.
The cold wind biting ice teeth into my cheeks,
whipping my clothes, pummelling my body
from left to right.
I can barely stand, leaning heavily on my walking stick.
I find respite in the lee of a boulder.
Here the wind cannot not steal my breath,
I feel a drip of cold water rolling down my neck,
smell the damp lichens covering my stone saviour.

And when I do not long for the air of the high fells I imagine:
walking with friends along the banks of the Derwent.
I love to visit Isel Bridge with my mother,
where a riot of spring flowers bursts in the wet meadow,
by summer their freshness will fade.
We lie down in the long grass,
watch the clouds roll by in the dome of the sky.
I always share my thoughts with her,
that I feel the earth is moving past the clouds,
that we are the ones racing past them.
She always laughs.
Sometimes I cry for joy.

On the days I am in pain I always remember the same walk:
I go from Grasmere to Rydal on the coffin trail.
I walk as a small child in bare feet.
I go alone with my walking stick.
It taps on the cobbles of the path,
I feel the uneven ground under my toes and the soles of my feet.
It is uncomfortable, almost unbearable.
The leaves of a silver birch tree brush against my face,
the moisture of moss on wood lifts from the forest floor,
fills my chest. My stick taps the cobbles,
tap, tap, tap.
Its rhythm keeps me walking,
moving through.

[1] In the last 20 years of her life Dorothy Wordsworth’s health failed and she was increasingly confined to home.