Remembrances (III)



Here was commons for their hills, where they seek for freedom still,
Though every common's gone and though traps are set to kill
The little homeless miners--O it turns my bosom chill
When I think of old Sneap Green, Puddock's Nook and Hilly Snow,
Where bramble bushes grew and the daisy gemmed in dew
And the hills of silken grass like to cushions to the view,
Where we threw the pismire crumbs when we'd nothing else to do,
All levelled like a desert by the never weary plough,
All banished like the sun where that cloud is passing now
And settled here for ever on its brow.

O I never thought that joys would run away from boys,
Or that boys would change their minds and forsake such summer joys;
But alack I never dreamed that the world had other toys
To petrify first feelings like the fable into stone,
Till I found the pleasure past and a winter come at last,
Then the fields were sudden bare and the sky got overcast
And boyhood's pleasing haunt like a blossom in the blast
Was shrivelled to a withered weed and trampled down and done,
Till vanished was the morning spring and set the summer sun
And winter fought her battle strife and won.
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3 comments:

Roger R. said...

"...traps are set to kill
The little homeless miners..."

As one who has a plague of moles in the garden at present and would like to be rid of them... what am I to do and be faithful to Clare's railing against those who would kill all wild life in the 'new' fields?

Anonymous said...

I am busy researching John Clare for some further work with my Year 6 Literacy class (age 10 and 11). I had forgotten the melancholic beauty of Clare's poetry until revisiting it with the children today. They have thoroughly enjoyed the imagery he created and were fascinated by Clare's life.Who knows - perhaps there will be a few John Clare converts amongst them - makes the job worthwhile!

Nomad said...

Well done, 'anonymous'! I think that's a great age to meet such writing. So much of what Clare wrote comes from a child's kind of absorption in the world around him (at whatever age he wrote), as well, and that must surely be something one would respond to instinctively. Besides, 'pismire' and other grand words like that are delicious to learn and use!