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.