“For nature then
(The coarser pleasures of my boyish days
And their glad animal movements all gone by)
To me was all in all.—I cannot paint
What then I was.”
– Wordsworth, ‘Lines Composed a Few Miles above Tintern Abbey, On Revisiting the Banks of the Wye during a Tour. July 13, 1798‘
The Lake District mountains began as the blue hills beyond
the limits of my childhood realm, the places
reachable by foot or bike
later the forms became numinous beings as we drove beneath
their nighttime bulk, a presence blacking out
the starlit sky.
One day I reached a summit with my Brownie troupe:
before, I’d been afraid to crest the slopes
screes could be slippery and deadly, so I’d heard.
Then came the time of adventure:
taking the clue from an abandoned railway bridge, I dared
to venture out beyond the limits of the known,
though timidly at first, and still afraid to leave the path
I walked in valleys, happily all day long
riding the bus from scene to happy scene.
Nature to me back then was all in all:
till alcohol encroached upon the threshold
of my womanhood, costing me mountains.
Still, the more I walked within the valleys, those wild heights
called out, I tried to mix the two:
the mountain heights, the depths of drunkenness.
And some time later found I could not walk
alone, having lost faith, self-confidence
and comfort in the company of one.
Then we left these hills behind for other hills,
higher still and deeper down the fall
into despondency and then salvation, still
these hills of youth remain
© Experimentsinfiction 2021, All Rights Reserved
Written for Earthweal
For this week’s challenge, Brendan has asked us to:
Remember a time when nature was bigger than anything else. Personify, magnify, glorify nature into this magnificent, maleficent more-than-human tenacity which we foolishly attempt to appropriate. How have natural forces shaped you?
I grew up close to the Lake District in the North of England, and its landscapes certainly shaped my mind, and fire my imagination still. The picture is of Honister Pass which links the valleys of Borrowdale and Lorton. Taken during a trip home last summer.
As for the form, it start off as free verse which became (almost) blank verse. A challenge for my clouded judgment at the moment, so apologies if it doesn’t read quite right.