from "Walks in the Woods"

[Image : Anne Lee]

It doth one's spirits good to go
Through beds of fern that fan below.
The rustle that the branches make
While giving way to let me through,
The leaves that for a moment shake
As out a blackbird hasty flew—
Oh, there is stillness in the noise
That brings to quiet many joys.
Yes, as the bouncing branches start
And backward hurry to their place,
A rapture rushes at the heart,
A joy comes flushing in the face;
I feel so glad I can't explain
My joy, and on I rush again.
And now I meet a stoven full
Of clinging woodbines all in flower;
They look so rich and beautiful—
Though loath to spoil so sweet a bower—
My fingers itch to pull them down
To take a handful to the town.
So then I mix their showy bloom
With many pleasant-looking things,
And fern leaves in my posy come;
And then so beautifully clings
The heart-leaved bryony round the tree,
It too must in a posy be.
Enchanter's nightshade, some few sprigs
—So sweet a spot it blossoms in—
And within reach the leafiest twigs
Of oak, if such my reach can win;
And still unwilling to give o'er
I stoop till I can hold no more.

(lines 113 to 144)
The Poems of John Clare
ed. J. W. Tibble
(2 volumes, Dent, 1935)

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