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Best Famous John Clare Poems

Here is a collection of the all-time best famous John Clare poems. This is a select list of the best famous John Clare poetry. Reading, writing, and enjoying famous John Clare poetry (as well as classical and contemporary poems) is a great past time. These top poems are the best examples of John Clare poems.

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Written by Barry Tebb | |

ON FIRST READING JOHN GOODBY’S ‘IRISH POETRY SINCE 1950’

 Barbarous insult to Yeats’ memory and Claudel’s

Allen, thank God you are dead, you who breathed the air of Apollinaire,

Ghost of Reverdy bear witness to the mendacity of his clamour,

Hart Crane, rise from the estuary of the great river you drowned in,

John Clare, rise from your country churchyard grave,

Gray, from your carv?d tomb and Wilde, cast off your winged shield

In P?re Lachaise,

Rise poets, rise and drive the barbarous horde without the sacred gates

of Art

Where it has crept and quenched the flame, rendering the Nine silent

And bereft and covered in shame.
Pastmaster of Post Modernist jargon, defiler of the tombs of great poets Whose souls hover in Elysium or crouch along the banks of black Lethe Begging a crown to lay on Charon’s palm.
Souls of the great dead rise and deliver us from one who negates Poetry as the realm of the numinous, toyer with words, vain hack of Academe, Spoiler of the silver stream of poetry’s wind-harp voice unseen Traducer, seducer, traitor, hands red with blood, bearer of the ultimate guilt Of trahison des clercs, murderer of the subtle spirit of Mallarm?, Defiler of poetry’s purity as defined by Rilke and Val?ry Praiser of ultimate poetastry-Duhig’s penny ranting-condemner of Jimmy Simmons- One Leeds Jimmy who could fix the world’s Duhigs once and for all, Write them into the ground and still have a hundred lyrics in his quiver.


Written by John Clare | |

I Am

 Poem by Anne-Marie Derése, translated by Judith Skillman.
I am the red brand on the shoulder of the condemned, the gallows and the rope, the ax and the block, the whip and the cross.
I am the lion's tooth in the flesh of the gazelle.
In my veins I have the blood of the slave trader.
Hangman, I have deserved the hunger of the wolves.
My victims have left me nothing but their deaths.


Written by John Clare | |

Evening

 The sky puts on the darkening blue coat
held for it by a row of ancient trees;
you watch: and the lands grow distant in your sight,
one journeying to heaven, one that falls;

and leave you, not at home in either one,
not quite so still and dark as the darkened houses,
not calling to eternity with the passion of what becomes
 a star each night, and rises;

and leave you (inexpressibly to unravel)
your life, with its immensity and fear,
so that, now bounded, now immeasurable,
it is alternately stone in you and star.


More great poems below...

Written by John Clare | |

Summer

 See what delights in sylvan scenes appear!
Descending Gods have found Elysium here.
In woods bright Venus with Adonis stray'd, And chaste Diana haunts the forest shade.
Come lovely nymph, and bless the silent hours, When swains from shearing seek their nightly bow'rs; When weary reapers quit the sultry field, And crown'd with corn, their thanks to Ceres yield.
This harmless grove no lurking viper hides, But in my breast the serpent Love abides.
Here bees from blossoms sip the rosy dew, But your Alexis knows no sweets but you.
Oh deign to visit our forsaken seats, The mossy fountains, and the green retreats! Where-e'er you walk, cool gales shall fan the glade, Trees, where you sit, shall crowd into a shade, Where-e'er you tread, the blushing flow'rs shall rise, And all things flourish where you turn your eyes.
Oh! How I long with you to pass my days, Invoke the muses, and resound your praise; Your praise the birds shall chant in ev'ry grove, And winds shall waft it to the pow'rs above.
But wou'd you sing, and rival Orpheus' strain, The wond'ring forests soon shou'd dance again, The moving mountains hear the pow'rful call, And headlong streams hang list'ning in their fall! But see, the shepherds shun the noon-day heat, The lowing herds to murm'ring brooks retreat, To closer shades the panting flocks remove, Ye Gods! And is there no relief for Love? But soon the sun with milder rays descends To the cool ocean, where his journey ends; On me Love's fiercer flames for every prey, By night he scorches, as he burns by day.


Written by John Clare | |

The Cuckoo

 Cuckoos lead Bohemian lives, 
They fail as husbands and as wives, 
Therefore they cynically disparage 
Everybody else's marriage.


Written by John Clare | |

Hens Nest

 Among the orchard weeds, from every search,
Snugly and sure, the old hen's nest is made,
Who cackles every morning from her perch
To tell the servant girl new eggs are laid;
Who lays her washing by, and far and near
Goes seeking all about from day to day,
And stung with nettles tramples everywhere;
But still the cackling pullet lays away.
The boy on Sundays goes the stack to pull In hopes to find her there, but naught is seen, And takes his hat and thinks to find it full, She's laid so long so many might have been.
But naught is found and all is given o'er Till the young brood come chirping to the door.


Written by John Clare | |

Summer

 Remember the days of our first happiness,
how strong we were, how dazed by passion,
lying all day, then all night in the narrow bed,
sleeping there, eating there too: it was summer,
it seemed everything had ripened
at once.
And so hot we lay completely uncovered.
Sometimes the wind rose; a willow brushed the window.
But we were lost in a way, didn't you feel that? The bed was like a raft; I felt us drifting far from our natures, toward a place where we'd discover nothing.
First the sun, then the moon, in fragments, stone through the willow.
Things anyone could see.
Then the circles closed.
Slowly the nights grew cool; the pendant leaves of the willow yellowed and fell.
And in each of us began a deep isolation, though we never spoke of this, of the absence of regret.
We were artists again, my husband.
We could resume the journey.


Written by John Clare | |

Summer

 Remember the days of our first happiness,
how strong we were, how dazed by passion,
lying all day, then all night in the narrow bed,
sleeping there, eating there too: it was summer,
it seemed everything had ripened
at once.
And so hot we lay completely uncovered.
Sometimes the wind rose; a willow brushed the window.
But we were lost in a way, didn't you feel that? The bed was like a raft; I felt us drifting far from our natures, toward a place where we'd discover nothing.
First the sun, then the moon, in fragments, stone through the willow.
Things anyone could see.
Then the circles closed.
Slowly the nights grew cool; the pendant leaves of the willow yellowed and fell.
And in each of us began a deep isolation, though we never spoke of this, of the absence of regret.
We were artists again, my husband.
We could resume the journey.


Written by John Clare | |

Evening

 'Tis evening; the black snail has got on his track,
And gone to its nest is the wren,
And the packman snail, too, with his home on his back,
Clings to the bowed bents like a wen.
The shepherd has made a rude mark with his foot Where his shadow reached when he first came, And it just touched the tree where his secret love cut Two letters that stand for love's name.
The evening comes in with the wishes of love, And the shepherd he looks on the flowers, And thinks who would praise the soft song of the dove, And meet joy in these dew-falling hours.
For Nature is love, and finds haunts for true love, Where nothing can hear or intrude; It hides from the eagle and joins with the dove, In beautiful green solitude.


Written by John Clare | |

What Is Life?

 Resembles Life what once was held of Light,
Too ample in itself for human sight ?
An absolute Self--an element ungrounded--
All, that we see, all colours of all shade
[Image]By encroach of darkness made ?--
Is very life by consciousness unbounded ?
And all the thoughts, pains, joys of mortal breath,
A war-embrace of wrestling Life and Death ?


Written by John Clare | |

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 shadows in love's frenzied, stifled throes—
And yet I am, and live—like vapors tossed

Into the nothingness of scorn and noise,
 Into the living sea of waking dreams,
Where there is neither sense of life or joys,
 But the vast shipwreck of my life's esteems;
Even the dearest, that I love the best,
Are strange—nay, rather stranger than the rest.
I long for scenes, where man hath never trod, A place where woman never smiled 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.


Written by John Clare | |

The Winters Spring

 The winter comes; I walk alone,
 I want no bird to sing;
To those who keep their hearts their own
 The winter is the spring.
No flowers to please—no bees to hum— The coming spring's already come.
I never want the Christmas rose To come before its time; The seasons, each as God bestows, Are simple and sublime.
I love to see the snowstorm hing; 'Tis but the winter garb of spring.
I never want the grass to bloom: The snowstorm's best in white.
I love to see the tempest come And love its piercing light.
The dazzled eyes that love to cling O'er snow-white meadows sees the spring.
I love the snow, the crumpling snow That hangs on everything, It covers everything below Like white dove's brooding wing, A landscape to the aching sight, A vast expanse of dazzling light.
It is the foliage of the woods That winters bring—the dress, White Easter of the year in bud, That makes the winter Spring.
The frost and snow his posies bring, Nature's white spurts of the spring.


Written by John Clare | |

Summer Evening

 The frog half fearful jumps across the path,
And little mouse that leaves its hole at eve
Nimbles with timid dread beneath the swath;
My rustling steps awhile their joys deceive,
Till past, and then the cricket sings more strong,
And grasshoppers in merry moods still wear
The short night weary with their fretting song.
Up from behind the molehill jumps the hare, Cheat of his chosen bed, and from the bank The yellowhammer flutters in short fears From off its nest hid in the grasses rank, And drops again when no more noise it hears.
Thus nature's human link and endless thrall, Proud man, still seems the enemy of all.


Written by John Clare | |

Badger

 When midnight comes a host of dogs and men
Go out and track the badger to his den,
And put a sack within the hole, and lie
Till the old grunting badger passes by.
He comes an hears - they let the strongest loose.
The old fox gears the noise and drops the goose.
The poacher shoots and hurries from the cry, And the old hare half wounded buzzes by.
They get a forked stick to bear him down And clap the dogs and take him to the town, And bait him all the day with many dogs, And laugh and shout and fright the scampering hogs.
He runs along and bites at all he meets: They shout and hollo down the noisy streets.
He turns about to face the loud uproar And drives the rebels to their very door.
The frequent stone is hurled where'er they go; When badgers fight, then everyone's a foe.
The dogs are clapped and urged to join the fray' The badger turns and drives them all away.
Though scarcely half as big, demure and small, He fights with dogs for hours and beats them all.
The heavy mastiff, savage in the fray, Lies down and licks his feet and turns away.
The bulldog knows his match and waxes cold, The badger grins and never leaves his hold.
He drives the crowd and follows at their heels And bites them through—the drunkard swears and reels The frighted women take the boys away, The blackguard laughs and hurries on the fray.
He tries to reach the woods, and awkward race, But sticks and cudgels quickly stop the chase.
He turns again and drives the noisy crowd And beats the many dogs in noises loud.
He drives away and beats them every one, And then they loose them all and set them on.
He falls as dead and kicked by boys and men, Then starts and grins and drives the crowd again; Till kicked and torn and beaten out he lies And leaves his hold and crackles, groans, and dies.


Written by John Clare | |

What Is Life?

 And what is Life? An hour-glass on the run,
A mist retreating from the morning sun,
A busy, bustling, still-repeated dream.
Its length? A minute's pause, a moment's thought.
And Happiness? A bubble on the stream, That in the act of seizing shrinks to nought.
And what is Hope? The puffing gale of morn, That of its charms divests the dewy lawn, And robs each flow'ret of its gem—and dies; A cobweb, hiding disappointment's thorn, Which stings more keenly through the thin disguise.
And what is Death? Is still the cause unfound? That dark mysterious name of horrid sound? A long and lingering sleep the weary crave.
And Peace? Where can its happiness abound? Nowhere at all, save heaven and the grave.
Then what is Life? When stripped of its disguise, A thing to be desired it cannot be; Since everything that meets our foolish eyes Gives proof sufficient of its vanity.
'Tis but a trial all must undergo, To teach unthankful mortals how to prize That happiness vain man's denied to know, Until he's called to claim it in the skies.