Kathleen Winter


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Photo by TheLynches (Photographer’s note: Dorothy Wordsworth noted her visit here and William wrote his poem “Written in March” based on his visit here with his sister.)



The Journals of Dorothy Wordsworth

I like to hear what Wordsworth ate:
suet, chops, potatoes – he was
never well but trod the miles
dejected while his sister baked

pies, bread, raisin cakes;
William walked in sleet and rain, from
violets and the mossy stone where
Coleridge lay, his bowels in knots.

Dorothy’s were wretched too:
flour, ham, beef, lard – how
Wordsworth wrote The Rainbow or The
Singing Bird with bowels that bad

I’ll never understand – I want the
romance of it, though:
pockets crammed with
mutton as they trudged for Letters or composed

The Leech-Gatherer or held a
melancholy talk beneath the wall.
Words, sheep, stones. Stars:
they named the largest Jupiter

no matter where it hung, and looked on
glow-worms, daisies, celandine; on ordinary
distances; as heroes come to cut them free
with swords of English light.



If I perfectly wash the stairs

If I perfectly wash the stairs, if
lemon oil soap impregnates,
if I sit looking through this window long enough,
the green rain spilling, distorting, if
someone comes to whom I can say eels lash, stars explode
and there would be of course love, if that person came
to the wet door, if
no one came at all but still something happened to the stove
that does not usually happen, say the gas flame consumed
the old body and made me immortal, if the boom of a crane
came out of the sky and lifted me up higher
than those white gulls, if
music came into me and
stayed, became part of my chemistry if
when I was young I had listened to the darkness under the bridge if
I had sailed, if I had been able to stow away, if I had been a boy, if
I was not hijacked by bread, if
my fingers grew impossibly long and I could play the real Chopin
I mean if my fingers went so far back through time they actually
belonged to Chopin, if
wrought iron railings, if
moonlight could not be ignored, if I stood in the greenhouse and became
gods wrapped in vine leaves for the rice to crave,
three bus drivers waiting for me at the junction



Bus 81

suburban blight in
pink twilight
pitfalls of the stripmalls
outside Smith’s Falls where the strata
in Kanata has a big fight
with the starlight
on no account will a social
climber mount or count the cost
of the lost real diner
where the pie’s real & the skies feel,
booths like your dad’s old vinyl
recliner that’s la-z-boy
crazy boy things are getting hazy boy
where the ice cream & the
nice dream that you
were alive & not under the
impression you were meshing
with reality that has no lesson
no virgin cold first pressin
cause it’s less than a whisper
less than a vesper, getting real
desperate not to feel so
separate from anything real
that you’d give your kingdom,
sunset on the boulevard
put it on the Visa card
or the master of plaster
that dries ever faster
than tears on your fears
of forgetting the masters
Leonardo, Frida Kahlo,
Michelangelo & Pinocchio,
Juliet & Romeo, lost in
the afterglow of the
stripmalls and the pitfalls
in the distance, on a radio



Kathleen Winter is the author of boYs, published by Biblioasis and awarded the 2007 Metalf Rooke award. You can read more of her poetry and prose at Live Journal.




  • Neil Ellman

    I'm new to this site. Just read “The Journals of Dorothy Wordsworth.” Unique slant on the subject with a genuine appreciation for the written word.

  • Neil Ellman

    I'm new to this site. Just read “The Journals of Dorothy Wordsworth.” Unique slant on the subject with a genuine appreciation for the written word.

  • Enjoy reading your post! Keep going!