Monday, 23 November 2009

Cockermouth and Wordsworth

Photo from Flickr/Ross-P

Photo from Flickr/morebyless

Cockermouth is, very unfortunately, in the news.  The town is so named because it lies at the point where the River Cocker joins the River Derwent.  What would normally be an attraction sadly leaves it liable to flooding.  The photos above are both from Flickr members, the first showing the floods in 2005 and the second group are the results of the flooding over this last weekend.

It is a beautiful place, Cockermouth, on the edge of the Lake District in the north of England.  The centre of town is much as it was in the 18th and 19th centuries.  The poet William Wordsworth was born there in 1770 and lived in the town until he was 9 years old.  He was always closely associated with the Lake District.

At school, we studied several of Wordsworth's poems and I found the words came back to me as I looked up information about the floods in Cockermouth.

Intimations of Immortality from Recollections of Early Childhood

There was a time when meadow, grove, and stream,
The earth, and every common sight,
To me did seem
Apparell'd in celestial light,
The glory and the freshness of a dream.
It is not now as it hath been of yore;—
Turn wheresoe'er I may,
By night or day,
The things which I have seen I now can see no more.
The rainbow comes and goes,
And lovely is the rose;
The moon doth with delight
Look round her when the heavens are bare;
Waters on a starry night
Are beautiful and fair;
The sunshine is a glorious birth;
But yet I know, where'er I go,
That there hath pass'd away a glory from the earth.

Resolution and independence

There was a roaring in the wind all night;
The rain came heavily and fell in floods;
But now the sun is rising calm and bright;
The birds are singing in the distant woods;
Over his own sweet voice the Stock-dove broods;
The Jay makes answer as the Magpie chatters;
And all the air is filled with pleasant noise of waters.


All things that love the sun are out of doors;
The sky rejoices in the morning's birth;
The grass is bright with rain-drops;--on the moors
The hare is running races in her mirth;
And with her feet she from the plashy earth
Raises a mist, that, glittering in the sun,
Runs with her all the way, wherever she doth run.

While I was having to study them, these words were less attractive. Now I find myself much more appreciative of the way they can conjure a scene so beautifully. I just hope the people of Cockermouth will soon be able to return to a normal life surrounded as they are by the beautiful area in which they live.
Reblog this post [with Zemanta]


  1. That's unfortunate. I always wonder why people chose to build their lives in areas that are susceptible to such destruction.

  2. I don't think, when the houses were built, that the weather was as extreme as it is now. It's been the wettest November for 243 years, since records began.

  3. It seems places that are prone to flooding and getting worse each year. It's a scary trend...

  4. That looks bad. Love the poetry, though. :)

  5. I was reading about the flooding-sounds bad. I like Cockermouth and have some fond memories as a lad visiting there. I was a soldier stationed at Carlisle-but thats another story!

  6. The flooding is terrible, but then it is in many places this year. Thanks for the poetry though, it's lovely!

  7. Lovely area, great poetry and too much water!

  8. Hopefully they will be safe for some time after the clean up for this round-

  9. It has been all in the news the last days too - what a nature tragedy and how sad to see the damage of home and houses.

    What a great contribution from you - a lovely poetry!

  10. Terrible devastation yet people always rebuild and reclaim their homes despite the constant floods. I guess it's a matter of loving where you live no matter the ever changing conditions.

  11. It looks like a beautiful area. Too bad about the situation.

  12. Yes, it looks like a beautiful area and I am so sorry about the flooding...

  13. It's sad with all this flooding, demostating land and towns.
    I have not read any of Wordsworth's poems since school, and thats back in another millenium;)

  14. Hello A.

    One of my daughters lives in a flood plain nearby. The house itself is high enough to stay out of the water, but the access road is often overrun. It would not be my choice, but I guess some are willing to deal with the inconveniences.

    I know what you mean about the differences between studying something (e.g. poetry) in school and simply being able to enjoy it later in life. So many things do change as we get older! Some, even for the good. :)


Forethoughts, afterthoughts, any thoughts. Tell me.


Blog Widget by LinkWithin