Upon Westminster Bridge
Dull would he be of soul who could pass by
A sight so touching in its majesty:
This City now doth, like a garment, wear
The beauty of the morning: silent, bare,
Ships, towers, domes, theatres, and temples lie
Open unto the fields, and to the sky;
All bright and glittering in the smokeless air.
Never did sun more beautifully steep
In his first splendour, valley, rock, or hill;
Ne'er saw I, never felt, a calm so deep!
The river glideth at his own sweet will:
Dear God! the very houses seem asleep;
And all that mighty heart is lying still!
A number of years ago on a bright summer day, I was crossing the Westminster Bridge like so many others, enjoying the amazing view of the Thames before continuing on to Westminster Palace to take photos of the parliament buildings and Big Ben. It wasn't silent and calm, as Wordsworth describes, but bustling and busy, alive with tourists and Londoners going about their business. I imagine it was a good deal like that yesterday when a terrorist drove his car into pedestrians on the bridge before driving to Parliament and stabbing people there. At this time, forty are reported injured and five are dead, including police officer Keith Palmer, a husband and father:
In the wake of this outrage, I can't help thinking of the 2014 terrorist attack on our Parliament Hill here in Canada, in which Corporal Nathan Cirillo was killed:
It sickens me that a place of which I have such fond memories has been the scene of carnage and murder. I would love to remember Westminster Bridge as it was on that warm day in August, or picture it as Wordsworth described it so long ago. Unfortunately, that mental image will now be tainted by the knowledge of what happened there yesterday. These fanatics poison everything they touch.