Flowers from our garden heading to Westminster Abbey

Flowers from our garden here at Rydal Mount, and from Dove Cottage,  will be selected over the next few weeks for a special event in Westminster Abbey.

The flowers will be made into two wreaths from the gardens at these two of William Wordsworth’s homes in the Lake District.

The wreaths will be laid in Poets’ Corner in Westminster Abbey at a special ceremony next month, marking the 250th anniversary of the poet’s birth.

They are being made by Rydal Mount guide and artist Clara Li-Dunne who has been selecting appropriate flowers and foliage – including some of Wordsworth’s favourites.

The ceremony will launch a year of celebrations marking the 250th anniversary, following evensong in the Abbey, on Saturday March 7. There will be a reading by the Poet Laureate, Simon Armitage, and the Rydal Mount wreath will be laid by the poet’s great-great-great grand-daughter, Susan Wordsworth Andrew.

Clara, and gardener Helen Green

Clara, originally from Hong Kong, has a degree in fine art and is a qualified teacher. She has worked as a guide at Rydal Mount for nearly nine years, and will be choosing the flowers with head gardener Helen Green.

The wreaths will be based on 12-inch diameter frames and will comprise seasonal flowers and plants from both gardens.

Daffodils will almost certainly feature, says Clara, though Wordsworth’s favourite flower, the celandine, is tiny: “We would need hundreds of them.”

Clara will use the foliage of the evergreen shrub laurel, which was a favourite of William Wordsworth, and is said to have been grown from a clipping taken from the park containing the tomb of Virgil near Naples.

“There will be choisya, sometimes known as Mexican orange, lilies, and especially ferns, which Wordsworth loved,” says Clara, who made a Christmas wreath for display at the house last year.

Choisya in the Rydal Mount garden

The Westminster Abbey ceremony will be attended by members of the Wordsworth family, friends and writers, members of the Wordsworth Trust from Dove Cottage, and the poets-in-residence who will be working at Rydal Mount during the year.

 

 

Entry form for Wordsworth Young Poet prize 2020

Dear Teachers and Parents

The descendants of William Wordsworth invite entries from your pupils for the annual Rydal Mount Wordsworth prize for young poets.

All students at Cumbrian schools, primary, secondary and sixth form colleges,  are eligible to take part. The theme this year is Milestones which can be interpreted as the writer wishes. The winning poem will be framed and displayed alongside the work of the great poet in his former home, for thousands of visitors to see.

Entries should be typed in 12 or 14 point font, double spaced, and no longer than one side of A4 paper. Each entry should carry at the top of the page the name and age of the writer, and the school they attend. Entries which do not have these details cannot be put forward for judging.

They should be saved as individual Word documents, with no illustrations or artwork, please, and emailed as attachments to:

rydalpoetry@gmail.com

The closing date is Friday March 27. All who enter will be invited with parents and/or teachers to the award ceremony at Rydal Mount on Friday May 15.

IMG_1479

 

Young poets in the footsteps of Wordsworth: 7

Tomorrow we  launch our annual poetry competition for young people in Cumbria. All in Cumbria schools, primary and secondary, can enter, and if you want to start planning now, the theme this year is Milestones.

Meanwhile, we want to remind you about our previous winners, so each day for a week we’ve been publishing the ones that won our judges’ hearts in the past. This was last year’s victor, 11 year old Noa Calman from Grasmere primary school.

IMG_1482

 

New Beginnings

a coffin

lying still

while

across the world

a letter is flown

friends and family

weep

while I stare

stare into the sky

whispering

whispering my last goodbye

and as if in answer

to my call

a voice I knew

a voice I knew well

spoke

while people want

to be your sun

that burns

burns through

your day

I will

be your moon

that shines

shines through

your darkest

hours

Young poets in the footsteps of Wordsworth: 6

Next week we will launch our annual poetry competition for young people in Cumbria. All in Cumbria schools, primary and secondary, can enter, and if you want to start planning now, the theme this year is Milestones.

Meanwhile, we want to remind you about our previous winners, so each day for a week we plan to publish the poems that have stolen our judges’ hearts so far. In 2018 Mayumi Singh, then aged 12 and a student at Windermere School, wrote this winning poem. Here she is reading it, sitting in Wordsworth’s favourite chair:

Mayumi, sitting in Wordsworth's chair, reads her poem

Deep Waters

A boat. Waiting. 10pm. The sound of silence.

A line of people. Terrified. They get onto the boat. Some with lifejackets, others without.

They might not survive.

But they want to escape from the place that was once filled with laughter and happiness,

that they once called ‘home’.

Away.

The captain starts sailing. Its pitch black. All is calm but all is not bright.

The children’s eyes are filled with desperation.

They remember the days when their dreams were filled with wonder.

All they can dream about now is their horrified mother screaming.

The journey takes a turn for the worse. A storm is heading their way. The waves become bigger.

The tension rises. The captain tries to divert. The people are terrified.

They are clinging onto the helpless boat. The boat turtles, children scream, mothers cling onto their precious babies.

They are in the middle of the empty Mediterranean Ocean.

No hope. They go in deeper into the water.

Deeper and deeper and deeper.

Till all we can see is a little girl’s doll. Floating away.

Young poets in footsteps of Wordsworth: 5

Next week we will launch our annual poetry competition for young people in Cumbria. All in Cumbria schools, primary and secondary, can enter, and if you want to start planning now, the theme this year is Milestones.

Meanwhile, we want to remind you about our previous winners, so each day for a week we plan to publish the poems that have stolen our judges’ hearts so far. Today we look at our youngest-ever winner Rowan Ashworth, then aged 9, from Ambleside Primary School. The theme was “A walk on the wild side”.

Screen Shot 2020-02-07 at 08.39.41

Wild is a child

Wild is a child who stays out until dark

Wild is the child that lights fire with bark

Wild is a child with mud on their knees

Wild is the child who climbs up in the trees

Wild is a child a long way from home

Wild is the child with no need for a comb

Wild is a child who wipes their bum with a leaf

Wild is the child who uses a stick to brush their teeth.

Wild is a child who sleeps under the stars

Wild is the child who keeps tadpoles in jars

Wild is a child who fell out of a tree

Wild is the child with their own parking space at A&E

Wild is a child that I would like to be.

Young poets in the footsteps of Wordsworth: 4

Next week we will launch our annual poetry competition for young people in Cumbria. All in Cumbria schools, primary and secondary, can enter, and if you want to start planning now, the theme this year is Milestones.

Meanwhile, we want to remind you about our previous winners, so each day for a week we plan to publish the poems that have stolen our judges’ hearts so far. Back in 2016 our theme was Mind the Gap  and our winner was 14 year old Jacob Currie from Furness Academy.

Screen Shot 2020-02-05 at 12.48.11

THE GAP IN LIFE

Climbing the mountains

The gushing streams flow through your mind

Your feet patter over the moss covered boulders

As you set off on your journey

The jumps you must leap

As you hold your fathers hand

Just in case he’s scared

You bound across the emerald – green fields

The vanishing horizon turning pink, purple, and then black

The stars in the sky glimmer like the excitement in your eyes

Your pace getting slower

Until you come to a stop

Turn around

And see the gap

Between man and nature

The beauty of the little daisy by your foot

Compared to the billowing smoke from the factories

The sparkling night sky covered by fog and smoke

But you know

Above you there’s a whole new adventure

Waiting for your feet to wander over the newly paved paths

Just for you.

Young poets in the footsteps of Wordsworth: 3

Next week we will launch our annual poetry competition for young people in Cumbria. All in Cumbria schools, primary and secondary, can enter, and if you want to start planning now, the theme this year is Milestones.

Meanwhile, we want to remind you about our previous winners, so each day for a week we plan to publish the poems that have stolen our judges’ hearts so far. Today we re-visit 2015 when the theme was “I wandered…” and our winner was Jessica Dickinson, who was 13 at the time, from Keswick School.

Screen Shot 2020-02-05 at 09.22.04

I wandered into my childhood,

Reminiscing one autumn day…

My creased eyes saw with joy

Each defining moment that shaped my mind, my life,

What treasures did I discover anew?

Fireworks shining in my mum’s eyes,

A swing to carry me to the top of the world,

A witch’s hat; a twinkling pumpkin greeting us and our tricks,

Santa, vibrant red, and a kind smile,

Summer days to run free and wild,

Oh no; that clown, a puppet, evil smile

Put him AWAY

A perfumed hug, everything’s OK

Colouring shapes on rainy days

My foot traces patterns on a sandy beach,

Laughing with friends until I cry,

And now but now, all my days are Autumn,

Winter draws close

Gnarled knotty hands, gnarled knotty trees,

Time to hibernate?

But my memories, like a toasty heart-warming fire keeping me aglow

Childhood memories

The jigsaw of me.

Young poets in the footsteps of Wordsworth: 2

Next week we will launch our annual poetry competition for young people in Cumbria. All in Cumbria schools, primary and secondary, can enter, and if you want to start planning now, the theme this year is Milestones.

Meanwhile, we want to remind you about our previous winners, so each day for a week we plan to publish the poems that have stolen our judges’ hearts so far. Today we feature the winner in 2014, Heidi Ostell, from Trinity High School, Carlisle. (Heidi, we’d love to hear what you did next so if you see this, please do get in touch)

Screen Shot 2020-02-04 at 08.31.09

Leviathon of the forest

Below a vast canvas of ever changing sky

surrounded by diverse forms of life and enchantment

the tree stands still.

Absorbing the world through the veins in its leaves,

shivering and dancing in the tranquil breeze

alive yet silent.

Ancient roots sprouted upwards from the earth,

intertwining, twisting, ascending,

encased in a skin of bark and moss,

engraved in timeless memories.

As gold liquid sunlight pours over the tree,

small birds dive through its branches,

and when the sun dies, the opal moon,

illuminating like fireflies,

is held in the sky by a million stars,

watching over the leviathan of the forest.

The tree is almost infinite,

if not for the captivity of time.

Eventually, it weakens –

defeated by wind, rain and storms.

Life fades away from the tree, like a cloud in the horizon.

At the foot of the decaying tree, sprouts a tiny stalk,

growing upwards.

Young poets in the footsteps of Wordsworth: 1

Next week we will launch our annual poetry competition for young people in Cumbria. All in Cumbria schools, primary and secondary, can enter, and if you want to start planning now, the theme this year is Milestones.

Meanwhile, we want to remind you about our previous winners, so each day for a week we plan to publish the poems that have stolen our judges’ hearts so far. We begin with the winner in 2013, Scrap of Iron, by Will Crisp, a pupil at the Lakes School

Scrap of Iron

Step upon the grass, rain-spattered, wind-shattered,

A fair distance down I see a wrought iron beacon, beckoning me

Forward across the pools of green, ploughed and pummelled,

At the tip I’m one of the mass, swelling and apprehensive.

A blacksmith approaches, he reckoning me local.

He holds a bucket of fire, excited and ready,

Pour it on, the first flame ignites the hills, mighty at last.

The second from Brantfell, the third from Helvellyn, menacing and sharp.

Fourth, fifth and sixth!

By dusk, eleven could be seen, from Scafell to the Pikes.

We lit the flame and we lit up the world.

I shift to another scene, silent and mysterious for

Miles I seem to be alone in perpetuity, oaken and peaceful.

The fields won’t stir, insentient and desolate.

I am one and myself, with empty heart yet enlightened.

And the people have gone. But cheered with fervour at the light,

It’s a marvel, those having a curbed life never saw.

I will sit, a metal bench and slate plinth for a walker,

Appreciate the thought close to the mere, deserted and beautiful!

The beacon lies on its side, abandoned and burned,

It’s the only memory, of the Lakes, for some.