Thursday, July 3, 2008

The View from the Bridge

Dear Everybody:

This one’s for everybody who’s ever been in London. Which is to say that it’s primarily for Sean.

Upon Westminster Bridge
by William Wordsworth

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!

Pretty straightforward. Guy loves London, goes out for a walk in the morning before anybody's awake and admires how lovely and strangely calm it looks from one of the bridges over the Thames. When "All that mighty heart" -- London -- is still.

So why bother writing a poem -- why not just send a postcard? Because simply seeing something cannot convey the emotions he felt. In proof of which, I provide you all with a link for a panoramic photo of the view from Westminster Bridge:


Which is better? Depends on what you want.

All best,



peterwatts said...

The panorama you have linked to is London Bridge. Westminster Bridge is next to London Aquarium and the London Eye.

Michael Swanwick said...

Oh, man! I am such a stereotypical American -- is there anything more provincial than confusing Westminster and London Bridges?

The gaffe has been corrected. My thanks for your catching it, Peter.