"I am Heathcliff"

by Elise Harter

On 13 September 2009, Elise was invited to make a presentation on literacy and to launch her first short story alongside Barbara Taylor Bradford at Ashdell School, Sheffield. Elise wrote this poem to provoke thoughts on literacy and to mark the 30th anniversary of Barbara Taylor Bradford's "A Woman of Substance", which was powerfully influenced by Emily Bronte's "Wuthering Heights".

“I am Heathcliff”, Cathy cried,

Though in respectability she’d hide.
At one with nature on the moor,
She’d run free, her heart, her core.

Trapped by life, she left this world,
But on the moors her soul unfurled.
On the rockface she lives on,
Her will to love second to none.

Are you Cathy? Heathcliff too?
Does their love reside in you?
Such love is born of literacy,
A love of words will set it free.

Who teaches us to love each word?
Those voiced aloud? Those left unheard?
A parent’s voice can open doors,
Through you imagination soars.

For as we learn to read and write,
We learn to dream, night after night,
And as we dream, we embrace life,
With all its hardship, toil and strife.

As we evolve, we learn to hope,
We learn of options, how to cope.
We learn that our dreams CAN come true,
That next year’s dream just might be you.

©Elise Harter, all rights reserved.