Supression of a Sigh (I)

Why do I tread my wilds around
Where peace its silence whispers here
& not one comfort to be found
To wipe aside the falling tear

Why thus to mourn my fate severe
Why hope alas to hope in vain
I am no worse then erst I were
I was but poor & so remain

While others more distressed then I
Severer urg'd to mourn then me
Look up beyond the tear the sigh
& deem them foolish vanity

Yon wreck of many a famish'd week
That only begs to be deny'd
A smile still prints this beggars cheek
& sorrows tear is wip'd aside

There tied to family & wife
Does labour bear wants chilling frown
Still the rough edge of irksome life
Contentment smoothly evens down

The Poet and the Nest

In Clare's 'Biographys of Birds', one of my favourite book titles and his 'Bird List' which he made for the tantalising 'Natural History of Helpstone', birds' nests stretch out like an ornithological city. The Large Wood Owle, by which Clare possibly means the tawny owl, 'attacks boys in a bold manner', the Raven builds where it is difficult to climb, the jackdaw in uninhabited houses, and as to magpies which sway about in nests filled with teaspoons, well they are apt to keep their loot. It horrifies him to see the overseers of Helpston rewarding boys who kill sparrows and he would give:

To tyrant boys a fee
To buy the captive sparrows liberty

As he wrote in his poem 'The Fate of Genius'. The fate of genius in the villages of his day could be quite terrifying. So hide away, hide away. Take Cover. Find cover on 'our plain':

Boys thread the woods
To their remotest shades
But in these marshy flats, these stagnant floods,
Security pervades.

From year to year
Places untrodden lie
Where man nor boy nor stock ventured near
-Naught gazed on but the sky

And fowl that dread
The very breath of man
Hiding in spots that never knew his tread
A wild and timid clan

In these thy haunts
I've gleaned habitual love
From the vague world where pride and folly taunts
I muse and look above

Thy solitudes
The unbounded heaven esteems
And here my heart warms into higher moods
And dignifying dreams

Excerpt from 'A Writer's Day-Book', by Ronald Blythe
Trent Editions, 2006.

Pleasant Sounds

The rustling of leaves under the feet in woods and under hedges. The crumping of cat-ice and snow down wood rides, narrow lanes and every street causeways. Rustling through a wood, or rather rushing while the wind hallows in the oak tops like thunder. The rustles of birds wings startled from their nests, or flying unseen into the bushes. The whizzing of larger birds over head in a wood, such as crows, puddocks, buzzards &c. The trample of roburst wood larks on the brown leaves, and the patter of Squirrels on the green moss. The fall of an acorn on the ground, the pattering of nuts on the hazel branches, ere they fall from ripeness. The flirt of the ground-larks wing from the stubbles, how sweet such pictures on dewy mornings when the dew flashes from its brown feathers.

Ballad ~ Rose of the World

The Rose Of The World Was Dear Mary To Me
In The Days Of My Boyhood & Youth
I Told Her In Songs Where My Heart Wished To Be
& My Songs Were The Language of Truth

I Told Her In Looks When I Gazed In Her Eyes
That Mary Was Dearest To Me
I Told Her In Words & The Language Of Sighs
Where My Whole Heart’s Affections Would Be

I Told her in love that all nature was true
I convinced her that nature was kind
But love in his trials had labour to do
Mary would be in the mind

Mary met me in spring where the speedwell knots grew
& the king cups were shining like flame
I chose her all colours red yellow & blue
But my love was one hue & the same

Spring summer & winter & all the year through
In the sunshine the shower & the blast
I told the same tale & she knows it all true
& Mary's my blossom at last

Child Harold (1139-1158)

Written between April & May of 1841, this is a most interesting poem in that during its composition Clare stopped capitalising every word. It is not known why he started this practice, nor why he ceased doing so.

Remember, Dear Mary

Poem 9 ~ Glinton 2009

Remember, dear Mary, love cannot deceive
Loves truth cannot vary, dear Mary, believe.
You may hear and believe it, believe it and hear--
Love could not deceive it those features so dear

Believe me dear Mary to press thy soft hand
Is sweeter than riches, in houses and Land;
Where I pressed thy soft hand at the dew fall o' eve--
I felt the sweet tremble that cannot deceive

If love you believe in, Belief is my love
As it lived once in Eden ere we fell from above
To this heartless, this friendless, this desolate earth--
And kept in first love Immortality's birth

‘Tis there we last met I adore thee and love thee
There's nothing beneath thee around thee above thee
I feel it and know it, I know so and feel
If your love cannot show it mine cannot conceal

But knowing I love, I feel, and adore
And the more I behold — only love thee the more

To Mary

[Image: Chris Spracklen]

Poem 8 ~ Glinton 2009

It is the evening hour,
How silent all doth lie,
The horned moon he shows his face
In the river with the sky.
Just by the path on which we pass,
The flaggy lake lies still as glass.
Spirit of her I love,
Whispering to me,
Stories of sweet visions, as I rove,
Here stop, and crop with me
Sweet flowers that in the still hour grew,
We’ll take them home, nor shake off the bright dew.
Mary, or sweet spirit of thee,
As the bright sun shines tomorrow.
Thy dark eyes these flowers shall see,
Gathered by me in sorrow.
In the still hour when my mind was free
Walk alone - yet wish I walked with thee.

Here's where Mary loved to be

[Image: Carry Akroyd]

Poem 7 ~ Glinton 2009

Here’s where Mary loved to be
& here are flowers she planted
Here are books she loved to see
& here the kiss she granted

Here on the wall with smiling brow
Her picture used to cheer me
Both walls & rooms are naked now
No Mary’s nigh to hear me

The church spire still attracts my eye
& leaves me broken hearted
Though grief hath worn their channels dry
I sigh o'er days departed

The churchyard where she used to play
My feet could wander hourly
My school walks there was every day
Where she made winter flowery

But where is angel Mary now
Loves secrets none disclose 'em
Her rosy cheeks & broken vow
Live in my aching bosom
[from Child Harold]

Two 'Glinton' Poems

Poems 5 & 6 ~ Glinton 2009
I love to see the slender spire
For there the maid of beauty dwells
And stand agen’ the hollow tree
And hear the sound of Glinton Bells


Her face to me was memory for life
Her looks her ways in winning forms would steal
& left a pain I never ceased to feel
Her very voice would memory’s partner be
& music lingered in the sound with me
Her troubling form was long about my sight
O’er day dreams dozing or in sleep by night
My dreams wore constantly that pleasing pain
The face of her I loved & could not gain