John Clare

(13 July 1793 – 20 May 1864 / Northamptonshire / England)

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Emmonsail's Heath in Winter


I love to see the old heath's withered brake
Mingle its crimpled leaves with furze and ling,
While the old heron from the lonely lake
Starts slow and flaps its melancholy wing,
An oddling crow in idle motion swing
On the half-rotten ash-tree's topmost twig,
Beside whose trunk the gypsy makes his bed.
Up flies the bouncing woodcock from the brig
Where a black quagmire quakes beneath the tread;
The fieldfares chatter in the whistling thorn
And for the haw round fields and closen rove,
And coy bumbarrels, twenty in a drove,
Flit down the hedgerows in the frozen plain
And hang on little twigs and start again.

Submitted: Friday, January 03, 2003

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Read poems about / on: lonely, tree, winter, love

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  • Freshman - 1,274 Points Kevin Patrick (10/25/2012 10:07:00 PM)

    Clare's life was tragic even by poet standards he followed the tradition of troubled souls who used the pen to escape the horrors of their mind. What I love about his nature poems is how he can fill every scene with naturalistic beauty with rich cascading language. I know I could never walk under moonlight glade and come up with what he came. His was a true passion for the world, even though it ate his being.
    A good work from a great man (Report) Reply

  • Rookie Kevin Straw (10/25/2012 7:09:00 PM)

    The word love at the beginning is indicative. This lovely poem shows Clare's psychic downward trend. Out of the darkness of the soul soars the light. (Report) Reply

  • Rookie - 171 Points John Shea (10/25/2012 2:58:00 PM)

    I see the quagmire in the write. The evil crow in its flight.Frozen hedgehogs in the hedgerows.Then I hang my hat and start a party beside the trunk where the gypsy makes his bed. Certainly he was surely a dead head fan back in the day. (Report) Reply

  • Rookie - 212 Points Ramesh T A (10/25/2009 1:53:00 AM)

    A model sonnet of poetic stuff about Natural vegetation in winter is good for reading pleasure rather than for ideas commendable! (Report) Reply

  • Rookie - 110 Points Myrtle Thomas (2/1/2009 12:39:00 PM)

    I loved this poem although much of the descriptions I dont understand.But it is good poetry, the words are just old English descriptors, but lovely just the same (Report) Reply

  • Rookie Mark Smith (10/25/2004 2:10:00 PM)

    I know I have just made an idiot of my self but at least I know good poetry when I read it that the only seed of comfort I have (Report) Reply

  • Rookie Mark Smith (10/25/2004 2:05:00 PM)

    Too good to only read on this site I hope you get published in the real world (Report) Reply

Read all 10 comments »

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