A Walk up Greenhead Ghyll to read “Michael”


Saturday March 18, 2017:

“No habitation can be seen; but they

Who journey thither find themselves alone

With a few sheep, with rocks and stones, and kites

That overhead are sailing in the sky.

It is in truth an utter solitude;

Nor should I have made mention of this Dell

But for one object which you might pass by,

Might see and notice not. Beside the brook

Appears a struggling heap of unhewn stones!

And to that simple object appertains

A story”

“Michael” (9-20)

In the late afternoon of our last day, a few of us went for a walk up Greenhead Ghyll. It was rainy and misty and green–the perfect weather for a goodbye to the Grasmere landscape. After a little confusion and several J. Crew-style photo shoots, we found our way to the “struggling heap of unhewn stones” referenced in Wordsworth’s “Michael.” MacKenzie did a reading of the poem as we stood in the mossy sheepfold, taking in the words and the beauty of the scene. We had spent a lot of time throughout the week thinking about the poem and the relationship between William and Dorothy and their brother John, which made the moment all the more meaningful. We walked back down just as it was getting dark.





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