[Image: The Shepherd’s Calendar (March) – Carry Akroyd]

And oft the shepherd in his path will spye
The little daisey in the wet grass lye
That to the peeping sun enlivens gay
Like Labour smiling on an holiday
And where the stunt bank fronts the southern sky
By lanes or brooks where sunbeams love to lye
A cowslip peep will open faintly coy
Soon seen and gatherd by a wandering boy
A tale of spring around the distant haze
Seems muttering pleasures wi the lengthning days
Morn wakens mottld oft wi may day stains
And shower drops hang the grassy sprouting plains
And on the naked thorns of brassy hue
Drip glistning like a summer dream of dew
While from the hill side freshning forest drops
As one might walk upon their thickening tops
And buds wi young hopes promise seemly swells
Where woodman that in wild seclusion dwells

John Clare – The Shepherd’s Calendar (March - excerpt)

Heath Field is caught tight now in a taut net of straight fences and new-planted hedgerows. She climbed over one fence after another. She pushed between the quick-thorn bushes and the thorns tugged at her cloak, A fox barked in Royce's Wood. She quickened her step. The wind sang among the branches of the willows along the dyke edge. She jumped the stream, holding up her skirts. She strode with a purpose. The moon came and went behind the scudding clouds and she seemed to walk through the darkness with a possessed assurance. She did not stumble. There was a shepherd's lambing wagon at the lower end of Heath Field. She gave it a wide berth. When she came to Torpel Way she followed it westward to Maxham's Green Lane, drawing her cloak about herself.

It was only as she passed the piles of fencing slats at the edge of Snow Common that her pace slowed and for the first time she caught her foot on the rough tussocks of the common.

Hugh Lupton – The Ballad of John Clare (Chapter 15 – Shrove Tuesday)

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