The Trek

“The creative adult is the child who has survived.” – Ursula Le Guin

William Wordsworth, born 1770, was orphaned at an early age and left in the care of his uncle, an academic. He received a scholarship to Cambridge, but preferred to educate himself, writing later: “I was not for that hour / Or for that place.” Instead of spending the summer before his senior year studying, he and his friend Robert Jones set off trekking Europe. They headed for the French Alps, Mont Blanc and the Chamonix Valley with landscapes powerful enough to guide an illiterate hand to write poetry, but this was Wordsworth who went on to base his autobiographical The Prelude on that hike.

Below is a peek out of the window from where my wife and I woke in a small bed and breakfast in Chamonix a few years ago, followed by a morning touring the village and then taking a cable car up to the Aiguille-de-Midi.



I have no delusions that I could ever hold Wordsworth’s quill, nevertheless that doesn’t stop me from scribing my own verse. The following poem is one of several that were inspired by our trip to the French Alps and Chamonix. The story behind the poem was published in Saint Anthony Messenger magazine in 2013.



Nine o’clock chimes quake the bell tower

clothed in stained glass and gilded with the Virgin


iron pulleys strain the funicular

to a tiled station on Praying Hill


across from de Fourviere,

No Service Today.


Mosaics peer down on empty pews

out on the veranda a hazy view


Mount Blanc 100 miles away

through a mountain pass massifs open


to paragliders casting rainbow shadows

on azure waters of Lake Annecy.


In a quaint Alps village

a toothless Moroccan waits


for the funicular to descend,

while an irate innkeeper in Lyon


watches us run out the door

laughing all the way to Chamonix.


jim brennan




About Jim Brennan

Jim is a Philadelphia-based writer, author, poet and editor for the Schuylkill Valley Journal.
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4 Responses to The Trek

  1. LB says:

    I read the poem first, and really got a sense of the place through your words.
    Then I viewed the photos. I cannot imagine having those alps right outside my window!


  2. Sophie33 says:

    Beautiful, dear Jim! cool photos too!


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