Poetry in the Evening with Christina Rossetti

Pathway in a Nature walk in Autumn

Welcome to Poetry in the Evening.


Forest in Autumn

Christina Rossetti’s poem “Up-Hill” is a journey that includes two voices, one with questions and the other giving assuring responses. We overhear a conversation that takes place between a narrator and a guide.   

As I recited the poem, I identified with the questions.  How long was the journey? Will there be a resting place at the end of day? Will I meet fellow travelers?  And, in the end, will I find comfort and welcome?

Christina Rossetti understood struggles, which included bouts of depression. Up-Hill accepts that the human experience includes difficult times, presenting us with steep inclines along the journey. And yet, by the end of the poem, there is a sense that every question is answered.  That every fear is removed.

I invite you to join me in reciting, Up-Hill, by Christina Rossetti.

Pathway in a Nature walk in Autumn

Up-Hill

By Christina Rossetti (1830-1894)


Does the road wind up-hill all the way?
Yes, to the very end.
Will the day’s journey take the whole long day?
From morn to night, my friend.

But is there for the night a resting-place?
A roof for when the slow dark hours begin.
May not the darkness hide it from my face?
You cannot miss that inn.

Shall I meet other wayfarers at night?
Those who have gone before.
Then must I knock, or call when just in sight?
They will not keep you standing at that door.

Shall I find comfort, travel-sore and weak?
Of labour you shall find the sum.
Will there be beds for me and all who seek?
Yea, beds for all who come.

This poem is in the public domain.



Photo of blue sky and tree branches

Published by Rebecca Budd

Blogger, Visual Storyteller, Podcaster, Traveler and Life-long Learner

51 thoughts on “Poetry in the Evening with Christina Rossetti

  1. Very interesting indeed, her approach to conversational poetry. But then again Italian are a most poetic people with a most poetic language, which Marianne and I are once again looking forward to visit Italia, via Tuscana in Montecattini, thus so in the not too distant future, toward late September.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. I confess that I just discovered the poem this past week, Margaret. While there are a couple of interpretations (the journey of life etc), I find that these are the same questions that I ask every time I travel. We are not so different from those that have come before.

      Liked by 1 person

    1. One of my favourite Christina Rossetti quotes is: “Can anything be sadder than work left unfinished? Yes, work never begun.” Thank you so much for your heartwarming comments, Shey. I means a great deal to me.

      Liked by 3 people

  2. The question–and the reassuring answers–mimic my journey revising my second memoir. The journey has seemed tortuous at times but I think I had a breakthrough last Saturday. Christina Rossetti would be astounded at how applicable her work is to readers in the 21st century. Thanks for the selection, Lady Budd!

    Liked by 2 people

    1. I am thrilled to hear that you had a breakthrough in revising your second memoir. I am inspired by your dedication to write your family’s story. Yesterday, I was on a zoom call with my mother and her sister who have lived to see 90 years old. They lived during a time that will never come again.

      Liked by 3 people

  3. Lovely recital video, Rebecca! This a superb Christina Rossetti poem that can be interpreted literally or as a metaphor for life. Either way, her conversational style in “Up-Hill” is very appealing.

    Liked by 4 people

    1. Thank you Dave! I just found this poem recently when I received my daily e-mail from Poet.org, which delivers both public domain and contemporary poetry. What I have found was that the style may be different between then and now, but the themes remain the same. I am fascinated by Christina Rossetti’s poetry. I just read that Christina and Elizabeth Barrett Browning were both regarded as the female poet laureates of their time. They poetry spanned almost the entire Victorian Age, from the end of Romanticism to the beginnings of Modernism. I continue to learn.

      Liked by 2 people

    1. Thank you, Liz! Christina Rossetti has an unusual way of writing poetry. There are many interpretations and discussions ongoing, even now. For me, I simply enjoy reciting her words and will leave the interpretation process to others. LOL!!!

      Liked by 2 people

    1. Thank you, Robbie – you are a wonderful encouragement!! You would appreciated that Dante Alighieri’s work influenced Christina Rossetti She was also a model for her brother, Dante Gabriel Rossetti. https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ecce_Ancilla_Domini#/media/File%3ADante_Gabriel_Rossetti_-_Ecce_Ancilla_Domini!_-_Google_Art_Project.jpg

      I just downloaded her poetry collection from Gutenberg.org and looking forward to explore more of her poetry.

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    1. I am delighted that you enjoyed this poem, which I only discovered last week. My first experience with Christina Rossetti was through her “A Christmas Carol” which starts out “in the bleak mid-winter.” A few years ago, The Queen mentioned this poem in her Christmas speech. The Peaky Blinders uses this poem in many scenes, a testament to the power of poems to transform over time. Sending love and many hugs to our dear friends, the Fab Four of Cley.

      Liked by 2 people

  4. Stunning video and heartwarming recitation, Rebecca! It brings to mind Corrie Ten Boom’s The Hiding Place and the wonderful conclusion of C.S. Lewis’ Narniaseries, wherein he describes the stable as so much bigger inside than outside. This poem suggests perhaps that we will be surprised at those who’ve struggled up-hill and find one another at peace and rest.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. The Hiding Place by Corrie Ten Boom and Narnia by C.S. Lewis was in my life since I was 13! They continue to influence me to this day. I just finished reading “Becoming Mrs. Lewis by Patti Callahan Henry, which introduced me to The Kilns, the place that inspired Narnia. I think you will enjoy this short video.

      Liked by 2 people

  5. Thank you for the choice of this poem, really beautiful, and your musical reading of it, is delightful. I read it several times and then came back to listen again. You video is beautiful as well, i listened to it also because I enjoyed the green foliage, the winding paths and the look down to pretty places below. I found the design (question and answer) of the poem interesting and unusual, a interesting change from the usual. I would just like to comment–your weekly choice of poetry is excellent! !

    Liked by 4 people

    1. I was trying to find a video that showed me walking uphill, but I could only find the ones that had me going downhill. LOL. I found this article from the British Library fascinating:

      In 1870, the acclaimed Victorian poet Christina Rossetti (1830–94) sent a letter to her brother, Dante Gabriel Rossetti, in which she commented on her abilities as a writer. Comparing herself to her great female predecessor, Elizabeth Barrett Browning (1806–61), she noted: ‘It is not in me, and therefore, it will never come out of me, to turn to politics or philanthropy with Mrs. Browning: such many-sidedness I leave to a greater than I’. While Rossetti might not have written about politics in such a focused and sustained way as Barrett Browning (whose works examined issues such as nationalism, revolution, slavery, and industrialisation), there was one key area with which both poets were concerned: the politics of gender and power.

      https://www.bl.uk/romantics-and-victorians/articles/christina-rossetti-gender-and-power

      Liked by 2 people

  6. Thank you for this wonderful recitation, Rebecca!
    Christina Rossetti is new to me, so I thank you for the introduction, as well!
    “Tis wonderful moments of peace and relaxation, to listen to you read your fabulous choices.

    Liked by 2 people

      1. I’m sure I will love her work! Thank you for the link.
        I just read a brilliant book of poetry by Merril D. Smith, from our blog world.
        It’s very special. You’d love the book. I did a review this morning.

        Liked by 2 people

  7. Beautiful poem and reading, Rebecca. I enjoyed the “conversation” which to me seemed like one between a child and adult, or an adult and her god. It was lovely. And a beautiful walk along the path as well. All smiles.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Many thanks for joining me on the road with Christina and “Up-Hill”. I remember taking road trips, as a child, to our grandparents farm which was about 11 hours from point A to point B. I remember asking “when will we see Grandpa and Grandma?” – a question that I repeated ever 15 minutes. My poor parents!! I agree – there is a wonderful connection between narrative and guide in “Up-Hill, a reminder that we have many questions and fears about the road ahead. Christina captured that angst and relief in the conversation. Perhaps that is the whole point of conversations. Hmmm….another thought to consider!

      Liked by 2 people

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