‘I love to see the summer beaming forth’ is a poem by the Romantic poet John Clare (1793-1864), although it’s not as famous as, say, ‘I Am’. But it’s a glorious evocation of the summertime, and deserves sharing here, with some notes towards an analysis.
I love to see the summer beaming forth
And white wool sack clouds sailing to the north
I love to see the wild flowers come again
And mare blobs stain with gold the meadow drain
And water lilies whiten on the floods
Where reed clumps rustle like a wind shook wood
Where from her hiding place the Moor Hen pushes
And seeks her flag nest floating in bull rushes
I like the willow leaning half way o’er
The clear deep lake to stand upon its shore
I love the hay grass when the flower head swings Read the rest of this entry
This little poem by John Clare (1793-1864) is not his most famous, but it’s worth sharing here because it so perfectly puts into words the power of untold love. ‘I loved thee, though I told thee not’: undoubtedly we could all tell a similar story, especially during those powerful years when we’re in the grip of first love.
I loved thee, though I told thee not,
Right earlily and long,
Thou wert my joy in every spot,
My theme in every song.
And when I saw a stranger face
Where beauty held the claim,
I gave it like a secret grace
The being of thy name.
And all the charms of face or voice
Which I in others see Read the rest of this entry
On Clare’s great poem about the self
‘I am—yet what I am none cares or knows’. As opening lines go, it teeters on the edge of self-pity, and it’s a brave poet who will risk that charge – and a fine poet who can pull the rest of his poem back from the brink of such self-indulgent wallowing that might be expected to follow. John Clare’s ‘I Am’ manages this, making it a fine and especially interesting example of Romantic poetry, exploring the individual self and the poet’s own place in the world. Before we offer a few words of analysis, here’s a reminder of one of John Clare’s best-known poems.
I am—yet what I am none cares or knows;
My friends forsake me like a memory lost:
I am the self-consumer of my woes—
They rise and vanish in oblivious host,
Like shadows in love’s frenzied stifled throes
And yet I am, and live—like vapours tossed Read the rest of this entry