A presentation of a poem on Westminster Bridge in the heart of London marked the end of a long campaign to re-open a road in the Lake District – and celebrate the heritage of William Wordsworth.
The framed copy of the poem The Gap in Life by 14 year old Jacob Currie was presented to MP Tim Farron by Christopher Wordsworth, the great great great great grandson of William Wordsworth whose poem Composed upon Westminster Bridge, September 3, 1802 described the view as: “Earth has not anything to show more fair”.
Jacob’s poem was the winning entry in this year’s Rydal Mount Wordsworth Poetry Prize which is open to all school students in Cumbria and is organised by the Wordsworth family and the curators at Rydal Mount where Wordsworth lived for much of his life.
The theme for this year’s contest was “Mind the Gap”, inspired by the huge “gap” in the main road through the Lake District, the A591, caused by flooding last December. The road was only opened again last week after five months of repair, and long detours for visitors and residents.
Christopher Wordsworth and his family judged the entries and he awarded the prizes at a ceremony at Rydal Mount, near Ambleside, last month. Curator Peter Elkington had invited Mr Farron, MP for Westmorland and Lonsdale and leader of the Liberal Democrats, to that event but he was unable to attend because of the forthcoming local elections.
“We wanted Tim to have a copy of the winning poem because it symbolised the battle that he and all the people of Cumbria have had in trying to get the road open again,” said Mr Elkington. “Christopher offered to take a framed copy of Jacob’s poem to London, and we thought that the most symbolic place to hand it over would be on the bridge that Wordsworth admired so much.”
He added: “The writers could interpret the theme in any way they wished, but we thought that it would be an opportunity for some of them to consider how the winter storms and the Gap on the A591 have affected their lives and their family lives.”
Christopher Wordsworth said: “Jacob’s poem took the ‘Mind the Gap’ theme and developed it into something more universal than just the road.”
Jacob, a student at Furness Academy, was presented with a £50 cash prize, a personal trophy, and his name added to the roll of honour on the plaque at Rydal Mount.
See Jacob reading his poem here, sitting in Wordsworth’s favourite chair at Rydal Mount: https://www.facebook.com/110289625704787/videos/1056180504449023/
THE GAP IN LIFE
By JACOB CURRIE, 14 (Furness Academy)
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
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.