Thursday, October 07, 2010

A Literary Pilgrimage to London — Martin

There is probably no city on earth that has a greater wealth of literary history than London. It’s the home of Shakespeare’s Globe Theatre, the city where William Blake and Charles Dickens expressed their distress at the plight of the poor. It’s the home of Westminster Abbey where many great poets are buried including: Chaucer, Spenser, Tennyson, and Kipling. And it’s the home for many famous fictional characters: Sherlock Holmes, Adam Dalgliesh, Lord Peter Wimsey, and Hercule Poirot — just to mention a few of the most famous sleuths from mystery fiction.

When my wife and I visited London this summer, it was inspiring to visit St. Paul’s Cathedral where John Donne’s statue stands — the same effigy that stood in an earlier St. Paul’s, and still shows the scorch marks from the great fire of London in 1666.

Although the scene has changed immensely, I wanted to stand on Westminster Bridge, and reflect upon the words of William Wordsworth from his famous sonnet:
-----------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...

or to imagine with Francis Thompson:
-----------Christ walking on the water,
-----------Not of Genesareth, but Thames!

Clearly one visit is not enough, so I’ll have to return to take in more of the literary history of London.

Entry written by D.S. Martin. He is the award-winning author of the poetry collections Poiema (Wipf & Stock) and So The Moon Would Not Be Swallowed (Rubicon Press). They are both available at:

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1 comment:

Peter Black said...

...and to think that Yours Truly spent the first eight years of his life twenty miles or so from London with all its literary wealth, without a knowledge of it; and also, that he has in recent decades,shuttled from Heathrow and Gatwick to the bus station, en route to Oxford, without stopping to seek out the places marking the literary giants whose work you treasure. Hmm.
I guess my treasure was the living loved ones I went to visit, eh! :)

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