There seems to be a natural connection between walking and poetry. For Wordsworth, the regular rhythm of walking was a stimulus to writing, and he said that “nine-tenths of my verses have been poured out in the open air.”
This beautiful mini-anthology contains Wordsworth’s heart-stopping ‘Old Man Travelling’ alongside contemporary poems that capture the delights of a walk with a dear friend and of walking in solitude. There’s a poem about setting off through city streets to find a river and a heron, and another featuring a surprising encounter on the top of Helvellyn. One by one then as a whole, these poems remind us that being on foot is one of the best ways of experiencing the world:
“Sole self I bedded down close as I could
To listen: lapping, birdlife homing, settling …”
from ‘Lake’ by David Constantine
Sasha Dugdale is an award-winning poet and translator – and a keen walker.
Cover illustration by Hugh Ribbans.