SONG: 'Now the Aprils Gentle Showers'

Now the aprils gentle showers
Notts the thorn for blosom

& the spring the sunny hours
Pricks daiseys on her bosom

Fear nothing love thy shoe to stain
As save the dewey morning
The pasture pads are dryd again
As soons the sun is dawning
Not till then I woud be fain
    To meet thee on the green

Then Ill get thee posies love
Then Ill get thee posies
Rob the woodbines from the grove
& hedgrow of its roses
Cull the cowslips from the lea
Wet wi the dewey morning
Bind it up & keept for thee
Gen the sun is dawning
Thens the time Id wish to see
    Thy beauties cheer the green

EP II 310

The Workhouse

Rural Evening (excerpt)

While at the parish cottage walld wi dirt
Were all the cumbergrounds of life resort
From the low door that bows two props between
Some feeble tottering dame surveys the scene
By them reminded of the long lost day
When she her self was young & went to play
& turning to the painfull scenes agen
The mournfull changes she has met since then
Her aching heart the contrast moves so keen
Een sighs a wish that life had never been

& vainly sinning while she strives to pray
Half smotherd discontent pursues its way

In wispering providence how blest shed been
If lifes last troubles shed escapd unseen
If ere want sneakd for grudgd support from pride
Shed only shard of childhoods joys & dyd
& as to talk some passing neighbours stand
& shoves their box within her tottering hand
She turns from echos of her younger years
& nips the portion of her snuff wi tears

(lines 137-156)

Chapbook No.23 was published on the 2nd April 2022, 

price £5 inclusive of P&P.

Drop me a line : arborfield (at) pm (dot) me

There’s a little odd house by the side of the Lane

Theres a little odd house by the side of the Lane

Where the daisy smiles sweet in the spring

Where the morning sun glitters like gold on the pane

& the hedge Sparrow trembles his wing

Where chaffinch green linnet & Sparrows have tones

That make the green Lane & the cottage their own

The sparrows they chirp & make nests i' the eaves

The chaffinch sings ‘pink’ in the hedge o' white thorn

That fences the garden & there the bird weaves

A nest of grey lichen soon as light i' the morn

& there bonny Susan will sit at the door

& see the green linnet at work at its nest

Where the robin flyes in for a crumb on the floor

& seems as if longing to sit on her breast

Opening of the Pasture


Within a closes nook beneath a shed

Nigh to the stack where stock in winter fed

Where black thorn thickets crowded close behind

& shielded cows & maidens from the wind

Two maidens sat free from the pasture sloughs

& told each other as they milked their cows

Their evening thoughts of love—while over head

The little Wren from its new dwelling fled

Who neath the hovels thatch with spring-hopes blest

Began to hang & build its curious nest

Of hair & feathers & root mosses green

It watched about & pickt its feathers clean

& cocked its tail & sung its evening strain

Then fluttering ventured to its nest again

While bluecaps blest the swelling buds to see

Repeated their two notes from tree to tree

The ass untethered rambling at his ease

 Knapt the black budding twigs of ashen trees

& sheep the green grass champt with greedy bite

A certain sign of sudden showers at night

(Lines 1-20)

Poems by John Clare

Oh!  Look what I’ve come across.  The much fabled ‘Poems of John Clare’ a collection by Arthur Symons published in 1908.  With no doubt the first, and crucial, glimmerings of the revival in the reading and celebration of the great poet’s work that continues to this day.  Yet I think it’s true to say that even 114 years later we still haven’t seen all there is to be discovered, for 158  years after Clare’s death, there are still reams yet to be properly examined and published.  And, no… the book is sadly not mine.

The Old Year

The Old Year's gone away
To nothingness and night
We cannot find him all the day
Nor hear him in the night
He left no footstep mark or place
In either shade or sun
Tho' last year he'd a neighbours face
In this he's known by none
All nothing every where
Mists we on mornings see
They have more substance when they're here
And more of form than he
He was a friend by every fire
In every cot and hall
A guest to every hearts desire
And now he's nought at all
Old papers thrown away
Or garments cast aside
E'en the talk of yesterday
Are things identified
But time once torn away
No voices can recall
The eve of new years day
Left the old one lost to all

Jany 1st/45

Christmas (7)

Now tis Winter plainly shown by the icicles which hang pendant from the low mossy eaves of the woodmans cottage -- who now with his mattocks and leather doublet is ready to begin his winters labour to cut down the wood in the still forrest and plash [shape] the hedge to stand as a fence against intruding cattle -- He and he only knows & sees the beauties & horrors of winter mingled together tho the short day – 


 For the shepherd cuts his journeys short & now only visits his flock on nescessity – Croodling with his hands in his pockets and his crook under his arms he tramples the frosty plain with dithering haste glad and eager to return to the warm corner of his cottage fire -- His favorite tree (where he was wont in summer to stretch his limbs in idle dalliance on the flowrey turf beneath its cooling shade) is now left desolate robbed both of its idle shepherd & the green foliage that clothd its summer boughs – 


 The Milk-boy too in his morning rambles no longer saunters to the pasture as he had used to do in summer (pausing on every pathway flower & swanking idly along; often staring with open mouth thoughtlessly musing on the heavens as if he could wish for somthing in the passing clouds leaning his lazy sides gainst everystile he come{s} to and can never get his heavy cloutred shoon over the lowest without resting      sighing as he retires with the deepest regret to leave such easy chairs) – 


But now in hasty claumping tried finding nothing but cold & snow to pause on he never stops to cawm his thoughtless head about – but shuffling along he make{s} the frosty plain reecho with his hasty bruzzing foot-steps – the stiles which where (were) so hard to climb over in summer are now scald (scaled) with the greatest ease and he wishes for nothing but his journey's end – prefering the sheltering warm confines of the farm yard and stables before the frozen plain – 


 But tis not so with the woodman no He glories in the weather & rising early in the dark morning ere the copper colored streaks appear to spread over the eastern skie – he pursues his journey over many new made hills and valleys of new fallen snow with “heart felt glee” cheering his rugged way with the oft repeated scrap of an harmless old song making the rihmy feathered thickets rezound in rural melody      Thus he cheerfully sallutes the winter morning till at length [he] enters the wild forrest – Here he brushes along his well known winding pad and the many intricating turns that leads to its deepest recesses – and then the beauties of witherd nature “surround him on every side”


Beauties of a winter Forrest (excerpt)

Hidden Treasures (Arbour Editions) 2016/9