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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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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.


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.


by John Clare | |

The Cuckoo

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


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.


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.


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.


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.


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 ?


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.


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.


by John Clare | |

Autumn Birds

 The wild duck startles like a sudden thought,
And heron slow as if it might be caught.
The flopping crows on weary wings go by And grey beard jackdaws noising as they fly.
The crowds of starnels whizz and hurry by, And darken like a clod the evening sky.
The larks like thunder rise and suthy round, Then drop and nestle in the stubble ground.
The wild swan hurries hight and noises loud With white neck peering to the evening clowd.
The weary rooks to distant woods are gone.
With lengths of tail the magpie winnows on To neighbouring tree, and leaves the distant crow While small birds nestle in the edge below.


by John Clare | |

Love Lives Beyond The Tomb

 Love lives beyond the tomb,
And earth, which fades like dew!
I love the fond,
The faithful, and the true.
Love lives in sleep: 'Tis happiness of healthy dreams: Eve's dews may weep, But love delightful seems.
'Tis seen in flowers, And in the morning's pearly dew; In earth's green hours, And in the heaven's eternal blue.
'Tis heard in Spring When light and sunbeams, warm and kind, On angel's wing Bring love and music to the mind.
And where's the voice, So young, so beautiful, and sweet As Nature's choice, Where Spring and lovers meet? Love lives beyond the tomb, And earth, which fades like dew! I love the fond, The faithful, and the true.


by John Clare | |

Summer

 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.


by John Clare | |

The Thrushs Nest

 Within a thick and spreading hawthorn bush
That overhung a molehill large and round,
I heard from morn to morn a merry thrush
Sing hymns to sunrise, and I drank the sound
With joy; and often, an intruding guest,
I watched her secret toil from day to day—
How true she warped the moss to form a nest,
And modelled it within with wood and clay;
And by and by, like heath-bells gilt with dew,
There lay her shining eggs, as bright as flowers,
Ink-spotted over shells of greeny blue;
And there I witnessed, in the sunny hours,
A brood of nature's minstrels chirp and fly,
Glad as the sunshine and the laughing sky.


by John Clare | |

The Maple Tree

 The Maple with its tassell flowers of green
That turns to red, a stag horn shapèd seed
Just spreading out its scallopped leaves is seen,
Of yellowish hue yet beautifully green.
Bark ribb'd like corderoy in seamy screed That farther up the stem is smoother seen, Where the white hemlock with white umbel flowers Up each spread stoven to the branches towers And mossy round the stoven spread dark green And blotched leaved orchis and the blue-bell flowers— Thickly they grow and neath the leaves are seen.
I love to see them gemm'd with morning hours.
I love the lone green places where they be And the sweet clothing of the Maple tree.


by John Clare | |

Clock-O-Clay

 In the cowslip pips I lie,
Hidden from the buzzing fly,
While green grass beneath me lies,
Pearled with dew like fishes' eyes,
Here I lie, a clock-o'-clay,
Waiting for the time o' day.
While the forest quakes surprise, And the wild wind sobs and sighs, My home rocks as like to fall, On its pillar green and tall; When the pattering rain drives by Clock-o'-clay keeps warm and dry.
Day by day and night by night, All the week I hide from sight; In the cowslip pips I lie, In the rain still warm and dry; Day and night and night and day, Red, black-spotted clock-o'-clay.
My home shakes in wind and showers, Pale green pillar topped with flowers, Bending at the wild wind's breath, Till I touch the grass beneath; Here I live, lone clock-o'-clay, Watching for the time of day.


by John Clare | |

The Instinct Of Hope

 Is there another world for this frail dust
To warm with life and be itself again?
Something about me daily speaks there must,
And why should instinct nourish hopes in vain?
'Tis nature's prophesy that such will be,
And everything seems struggling to explain
The close sealed volume of its mystery.
Time wandering onward keeps its usual pace As seeming anxious of eternity, To meet that calm and find a resting place.
E'en the small violet feels a future power And waits each year renewing blooms to bring, And surely man is no inferior flower To die unworthy of a second spring?


by John Clare | |

The Vixen

 Among the taller wood with ivy hung,
The old fox plays and dances round her young.
She snuffs and barks if any passes by And swings her tail and turns prepared to fly.
The horseman hurries by, she bolts to see, And turns agen, from danger never free.
If any stands she runs among the poles And barks and snaps and drive them in the holes.
The shepherd sees them and the boy goes by And gets a stick and progs the hole to try.
They get all still and lie in safety sure, And out again when everything's secure, And start and snap at blackbirds bouncing by To fight and catch the great white butterfly.


by John Clare | |

Wood Rides

 Who hath not felt the influence that so calms
The weary mind in summers sultry hours
When wandering thickest woods beneath the arms
Of ancient oaks and brushing nameless flowers
That verge the little ride who hath not made
A minutes waste of time and sat him down
Upon a pleasant swell to gaze awhile
On crowding ferns bluebells and hazel leaves
And showers of lady smocks so called by toil
When boys sprote gathering sit on stulps and weave
Garlands while barkmen pill the fallen tree
—Then mid the green variety to start
Who hath (not) met that mood from turmoil free
And felt a placid joy refreshed at heart


by John Clare | |

The Shepherds Tree

 Huge elm, with rifted trunk all notched and scarred,
Like to a warrior's destiny! I love
To stretch me often on thy shadowed sward,
And hear the laugh of summer leaves above;
Or on thy buttressed roots to sit, and lean
In careless attitude, and there reflect
On times and deeds and darings that have been—
Old castaways, now swallowed in neglect,—
While thou art towering in thy strength of heart,
Stirring the soul to vain imaginings
In which life's sordid being hath no part.
The wind of that eternal ditty sings, Humming of future things, that burn the mind To leave some fragment of itself behind.