A common man marvels at uncommon things. A wise man marvels at the commonplace. CONFUCIUS

Monday, 11 November 2013

John Clare's Autumn

I am moved by the tragic life of the delicate and vulnerable Northamptonshire labourer-poet, John Clare (1793-1864). Yet, despite his hardships, his poetry is so life-affirming, celebrating nature in all its forms.


I love the fitful gust that shakes
The casement all the day,
And from the glossy elm tree takes
The faded leaves away,
Twirling them by the window pane
With thousand others down the lane.

I love to see the shaking twig
Dance till the shut of eve,
The sparrow on the cottage rig,
Whose chirp would make believe
That Spring was just now flirting by
In Summer's lap with flowers to lie.

I love to see the cottage smoke
Curl upwards through the naked trees,
The pigeons nestled round the cote
On dull November days like these;
The cock upon the dunghill crowing,
The mill sails on the heath a-going.

The feather from the raven's breast
Falls on the stubble lea,
The acorns near the old crow's nest
Drop pattering down the tree;
The grunting pigs, that wait for all,
Scramble and hurry where they fall.



Wendy said...

Is Clare seeing somewhat of a revival or am I just late to the game to hear about him? I keep seeing references to him all over the place lately... maybe it's a result of reading more UK based writers lately.

Anyway, I like this! Just before I left Germany for CA two weeks ago, we had the most amazing winds and this captures it! (minus the pigs)

The Solitary Walker said...

I don't know about a revival, although more and more people are recognising such important poetic voices in ecological terms, these days…

Jonathan Bate had published a superb biography of Clare a few years ago… and the same author included him (plus many more poets and writers like Gary Snyder etc.) in a truly wonderful book called 'The Song of the Earth'.