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John Clare

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

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I Am


I am: yet what I am none cares or knows,
My friends forsake me like a memory lost;
I am the self-consumer of my woes,
They rise and vanish in oblivious host,
Like shades in love and death's oblivion lost;
And yet I am! and live with shadows tost

Into the nothingness of scorn and noise,
Into the living sea of waking dreams,
Where there is neither sense of life nor joys,
But the vast shipwreck of my life's esteems;
And e'en the dearest--that I loved the best--
Are strange--nay, rather stranger than the rest.

I long for scenes where man has never trod;
A place where woman never smil'd or wept;
There to abide with my creator, God,
And sleep as I in childhood sweetly slept:
Untroubling and untroubled where I lie;
The grass below--above the vaulted sky.

Submitted: Friday, January 03, 2003

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Read poems about / on: childhood, memory, lost, woman, sleep, sea, sky, death, god, life, joy, women, rose, dream, friend

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  • Rookie - 274 Points Sossi Khachadourian (12/10/2014 3:59:00 AM)

    I long for scenes where man has never trod;
    A place where woman never smil'd or wept;
    There to abide with my creator, God,
    And sleep as I in childhood sweetly slept:
    Untroubling and untroubled where I lie;
    The grass below- above the vaulted sky. (Report) Reply

  • Rookie - 274 Points Sossi Khachadourian (12/10/2014 3:59:00 AM)

    I long for scenes where man has never trod;
    A place where woman never smil'd or wept;
    There to abide with my creator, God,
    And sleep as I in childhood sweetly slept:
    Untroubling and untroubled where I lie;
    The grass below- above the vaulted sky. (Report) Reply

  • Freshman - 1,681 Points Elizabeth Padillo Olesen (12/10/2014 1:28:00 AM)

    Very good. It is good that Poem Hunter has also the famous poets from whom the new writers can learn from. There is eloquence and unity in this kind of poem by John Clare. This is the first poem I've ever read from him. (Report) Reply

  • Freshman - 1,681 Points Elizabeth Padillo Olesen (12/10/2014 1:28:00 AM)

    Very good. It is good that Poem Hunter has also the famous poets from whom the new writers can learn from. There is eloquence and unity in this kind of poem by John Clare. This is the first poem I've ever read from him. (Report) Reply

  • Bronze Star - 6,689 Points * Sunprincess * (6/18/2014 11:30:00 AM)

    Into the nothingness of scorn and noise,
    Into the living sea of waking dreams,
    .......in the living sea of waking dreams
    ....we all must sail alone, through life.....
    Where there is neither sense of life nor joys,
    .....and when out to sea, it may just be one continuous storm...
    But the vast shipwreck of my life's esteems;
    ......whereas when you have passed away, the storm is finished
    ....and another's life may be only sweet sunny days...
    And e'en the dearest- that I loved the best-
    ..........i think whom we choose to love
    ........is based upon some choice
    Are strange- nay, rather stranger than the rest.
    .........and some destiny. as when two ships
    ......cross paths on a moonlit night.... (Report) Reply

  • Rookie Karen Wood (12/14/2013 1:29:00 AM)

    This poem seems to convey perfectly the misery and isolation of depression. I love the richness of some of his expressions ' I am the self-consumer of my woes'. Is he consuming his woes, or are his woes consuming him? The line seems to suggest both and it's like viewing one of those optical illusions where the mind flips between the two views but can't hold both at once.

    The sea metaphor of the second verse is just beautiful, 'living sea of waking dreams', ' the vast shipwreck of my life's esteems'. Bleak but beautifully evocative. This poem can be read over and over and never become stale. (Report) Reply

  • Rookie - 752 Points Tony Karas (12/10/2012 6:25:00 PM)

    Beyond excellently done. Shames my own feeble attempt at near the same topic but that's the difference between a professional and an amateur. (Report) Reply

  • Rookie Justin Gonzalez (12/10/2012 3:44:00 AM)

    Wow, powerful. Wraps up all the sadness one could experience in life in one well written poem. (Report) Reply

  • Rookie Legendary Gamer (12/10/2011 5:03:00 AM)

    What a remarkable poem this is, The sorrow of loosing and betrayals is clearly visible. I just loved it.

    ☠ £€G€и ÐÅRŸ☠ (Report) Reply

  • Rookie Kevin Straw (12/10/2009 6:05:00 AM)

    There is a tinge of self-pity about this poem, but it is difficult to begrudge Clare that note when one considers the circumstances. This poem demonstrates the great power of poetry to be the thing it describes. Indeed that could be a definition if what poetry is. It is as though Clare's illness becomes words, it is the flesh made word. (Report) Reply

  • Rookie - 294 Points Ramesh T A (12/10/2009 12:55:00 AM)

    In this selfish world such an attitude is indeed necessary to survive as a monarch between the sky and earth! Happy and confident such a man will be! I appreciate the author for having such an attitude! (Report) Reply

  • Rookie Jan Campbell (7/21/2009 6:00:00 PM)

    John Clare suffered from manic depression, to say that this beautiful poem is 'self-obsessed drivel' trivialises his sufferings in a very arrogant way. I think it is a privilege to be allowed to glimpse those sufferings expressed so vividly. I too suffer from this illness which thankfully is much better understood today and the first time I read this poem I identified with John Clare and it remains my favourite. There is definately something about being in a dark place that causes some people to reach into the depths of their pain and find relief in writing, painting etc which we then can share. (Report) Reply

  • Veteran Poet - 2,996 Points Is It Poetry (12/10/2008 4:50:00 PM)

    Well I did'nt have any coffee and this dude is rockin...drivel these colors blinded devine twined in such wonderfull fasion of time..wooh (Report) Reply

Read all 33 comments »

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