Sunday Poetry – John Clare

johnclare

More John Clare this week. He writes so well about weather & the seasons that I wanted to explore his poetry a little more. We’re still experiencing unseasonably mild summer weather in Melbourne. It rained for a few hours this morning & the sun is just coming out now although there are more showers to come (according to the Bureau’s radar). I spent an hour or so weeding & tidying up in the garden this morning & think I’ll get out for a walk before it rains again. I’ll feel entitled to settle down with a cup of tea & an archaeology magazine after a brisk walk.

This poem is just called Summer. It’s a lovely vision of a perfect summer’s day.

Come we to the summer, to the summer we will come,
For the woods are full of bluebells and the hedges full of bloom,
And the crow is on the oak a-building of her nest,
And love is burning diamonds in my true lover’s breast;
She sits beneath the whitethorn a-plaiting of her hair,
And I will to my true lover with a fond request repair;
I will look upon her face, I will in her beauty rest,
And lay my aching weariness upon her lovely breast.

The clock-a-clay is creeping on the open bloom of May,
The merry bee is trampling the pinky threads all day,
And the chaffinch it is brooding on its grey mossy nest
In the whitethorn bush where I will lean upon my lover’s breast;
I’ll lean upon her breast and I’ll whisper in her ear
That I cannot get a wink o’sleep for thinking of my dear;
I hunger at my meat and I daily fade away
Like the hedge rose that is broken in the heat of the day.

Sunday Poetry – John Clare

johnclare

Much of Australia is experiencing extreme heat this weekend but in Melbourne, it’s cool & grey. John Clare’s poem, Autumn, conjures up images of the season that, hopefully, isn’t too far away.

I was also reminded of John Clare by the latest episode of In Our Time on BBC radio. You can listen to it here or download the podcast from wherever you get your podcasts.

The thistledown’s flying, though the winds are all still,
On the green grass now lying, now mounting the hill,
The spring from the fountain now boils like a pot;
Through stones past the counting it bubbles red-hot.

The ground parched and cracked is like overbaked bread,
The greensward all wracked is, bents dried up and dead.
The fallow fields glitter like water indeed,
And gossamers twitter, flung from weed unto weed.

Hill-tops like hot iron glitter bright in the sun,
And the rivers we’re eying burn to gold as they run;
Burning hot is the ground, liquid gold is the air;
Whoever looks round sees Eternity there.