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‘Home’: A Poem by John Clare

This wonderful little-known poem from one of English literature’s greatest nature poets isn’t available online anywhere, so we’ve reproduced it below as the latest in our ‘Post A Poem A Day’ challenge. In the poem, John Clare (1793-1864) extols the virtue of home as a place to return to at the end of a hard day, a place of comfort and belonging. The poem’s form deftly reflects this, with the last line of each stanza returning to home – i.e. by ending on the very word ‘home’.

Home

Muses no more what ere ye be
In fancys pleasures roam
But sing (by truth inspir’d) wi’ me
The pleasures of a home Read the rest of this entry

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10 of the Best John Clare Poems Everyone Should Read

The best poems by John Clare

John Clare (1793-1864) has been called the greatest nature poet in the English language (by, for instance, his biographer Jonathan Bate), and yet his life – particularly his madness and time inside an asylum later in his life – tends to overshadow his poetry. So here we’ve picked ten of John Clare’s best poems which offer an introduction to his idiosyncratic style and wonderful eye for detail, especially concerning the natural world.

First Love’. First love is powerful and stays with us, but it can be painful as well as joyous or liberating. This poem, one of John Clare’s most widely anthologised, captures this dual nature of first love and the way in which it is a loss of something – namely, innocence – as well as a gaining of something new and special. Read the rest of this entry

‘The Old Year’: A Poem by John Clare

This poem, ‘The Old Year’, by the underrated John Clare (1793-1864) is about bidding farewell to the old year rather than ushering in the new. Indeed, the stanza form is strikingly similar to Thomas Hardy’s later poem ‘The Darkling Thrush’: did Hardy have Clare’s poem in mind when he wrote his 1900 New Year meditation?

The Old Year

The Old Year’s gone away
To nothingness and night:
We cannot find him all the day
Nor hear him in the night:
He left no footstep, mark or place
In either shade or sun: Read the rest of this entry