Of Corncrakes and 'The Tweet of the Day'

[Image : The Corncrake – Carry Akroyd]

From 'The Landrail'
How sweet & pleasant grows the way
Through summer time again
While landrails call from day to day
Amid the grass & grain
We hear it in the weeding time
When knee deep waves the corn
We hear it in the summers prime
Through meadows night & morn
& now I hear it in the grass
That grows as sweet again
& let a minutes notice pass
& now tis in the grain
Tis like a fancy everywhere
A sort of living doubt
We know tis somthing but it ne'er
Will blab the secret out

The corncraik rispt her summer call Just as the sun went down
Copper red a burning ball In woods behind the town
I wandered forth a maid to meet So bonny and so fair
No other flower was half so sweet And cole black was her hair
Upon the grasses stood the dew Bead drop O' clearest pearl
Her hair was black her eyes were blue O what a lovely Girl
Her neck was like the lilly white Her breast was like the swan
She was in heart and loves delight A worship for a Man
The corncraiks rispy song was oer The sun had left the light [alone]
I love dusk kisses on the Moor To lewder life unknown
Hid in the bosom of a flower Its lifetime there to dwell
Eternity would seem an hour And I'd be resting well

Clare lines above -- from his time in Northborough -- are from 'The Landrail', the lines italicised  were quoted on the entry in the BBC Book 'The Tweet of the Day', published on the 10th April 2014, and illustrated by this little linocut by Carry.  The second poem is much later, written during Clare's long incarceration in the Northampton General Asylum.

The book, published by Saltyard Books is by Stephen Moss and Brett Westwood with lots of illustrations by Carry.

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