"All Flesh is Grass"

"The contract farmer has left a bit of the big field to do what it likes; so it has grown a grass crop, which by dint of tallness has held itself up. It waves. It seeds. “We are the True Fescues,” it says. “We are perennial. We shall come again.” Ryegrass, darnel, meadow grass, sweet grass, quaking grass — here we sway.

I remember the patch of quaking grass in the peggle field near Chilton Hall when we were children, how it “went” with bulldaisies. And lying in deep, deep grass in a kind of ceilingless grassy room, and listening to the cows chomping near by — which is what the poet John Clare did when he wanted to write without being seen.

I gather some Common Quaking Grass, the worse for wear, owing to the rain. I look it up in my grass Who’s Who, in which the grassy language is a kind of faintly understood vocabulary that always makes me want several lives, this particular one for learning botany proper. Oh, to speak “Briza media”*, with its beautiful “long and wide, oval to heart-shaped, pendulous, blunt, boat-shaped with shiny keels … flowering June-July” in my track!

Ronald Blythe
(Church Times – 6th July 2007)

*Briza Media -- A perennial grass, also known as Common Quaking Grass because of the gentle rustling sound it makes when disturbed by a breeze.

Finally, for this will be the last post before the Festival on Saturday, a verse from Clare's “I am” :

I long for scenes where man has never trod --
For scenes where woman never smiled or wept --
There to abide with my Creator, God,
And sleep as I in childhood sweetly slept,
Full of high thoughts, unborn. So let me lie,
The grass below; above, the vaulted sky.

See you at Clare’s graveside on Friday afternoon for the children of the John Clare Primary School’s annual Midsummer Cushions Ceremony, this year actually on his birthday.

"Sacred to the Memory of John Clare, the Northamptonshire Peasant Poet.
Born July 13, 1793. Died May 20th, 1864.
A Poet is born, not made."

(Roger R)

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