Featured Poem: Three Peaks Poetry Playlist #1

Those mountains are getting closer on the horizon and Team TRO are gearing up for the last laps of training before they’ll be taking off on their mammoth Three Peaks challenge in less than a fortnight. You can keep up to date with how preparations are going by reading the team’s fitness diaries here on the blog (has everyone got enough supplies? Is the minibus filled with enough fuel to keep our trekkers going in the dark moments? Has anyone hit the infamous ‘wall’ before the task has even begun? We hope not…), and there will be updates right up to the big day…

At this crucial make-or-break point in training however, we’re all aware that our intrepid adventurers are in need of a boost, to keep heads held high, feet marching onwards and souls soaring up to those three very high summits. Most of us are probably unable to make it through a 45 minute session at the gym without a little musical motivation, so just imagine how our Three Peaks team are feeling with the prospect of packing in a whole lot of hard work pretty much non-stop for the space of a whole 24 hours. It’s tiring just thinking about it. So The Reader Online is offering support in the best way we know how – with some poetry that aims to lift the spirits and move feet, if not quite mountains…

First up, some of Team TRO tell us what poems have been getting them through their treks:

Sophie Povey: An Epilogue, John Masefield

Lynn Elsdon: The Journey, Mary Oliver

Casi Dylan: The Windhover, Gerard Manley Hopkins

And from the London contingent of TRO, standing as supportive onlookers (at least in a metaphorical sense), this immensely stirring poem from one of the masters, William Wordsworth. It was written in support of the quite remarkable and inspirational Toussaint L’Ouverture, self-educated leader of the Haitian revolution against slavery at the end of the 18th Century. Quite a different context, but the words will surely resonate with the immense mental and physical feat the Three Peakers face, and give enough spirit to spur them on.

To Toussaint L’Ouverture

Toussaint, the most unhappy of men!
Whether the whistling Rustic tend his plough
Within thy hearing, or thy head be now
Pillowed in some deep dungeon’s earless den; –
O miserable Chieftain! where and when
Wilt thou find patience? Yet die not; do thou
Wear rather in thy bonds a cheerful brow:
Though fallen thyself, never to rise again,
Live, and take comfort. Thou hast left behind
Powers that will work for thee; air, earth, and skies;
There’s not a breathing of the common wind
That will forget thee; thou hast great allies;
Thy friends are exultations, agonies,
And love, and man’s unconquerable mind.

William Wordsworth

Team TRO are taking on their Three Peaks Challenge in aid of The Reader Organisation’s Apprenticeship Programme: Building Opportunities for Life for a young care-leaver who will be employed at The Reader Organisation in 2013, developing important skills that will enrich their life professionally and personally. Help give a young person a kick-start by supporting our Three Peakers at www.charitygiving.co.uk/trothreepeaks

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