‘On a Lane in Spring’: the title of this poem by one of Romantic literature’s overlooked greats, John Clare (1793-1864), says it all: Clare describes the things he sees on a country lane during springtime, his observations tumbling out into the poem in gleeful abandon and apparent spontaneity.
On a Lane in Spring
A Little Lane, the brook runs close beside
And spangles in the sunshine while the fish glide swiftly by
And hedges leafing with the green spring tide
From out their greenery the old birds fly
And chirp and whistle in the morning sun
The pilewort glitters ‘neath the pale blue sky
The little robin has its nest begun
And grass green linnets round the bushes fly Read the rest of this entry
How many great poems about badgers are there in English literature? ‘The Badger’, by the criminally underrated English Romantic poet John Clare (1793-1864), is perhaps the greatest of this small and select group. ‘The Badger’ is written in rhyming couplets, also known as ‘heroic couplets’ – and although Clare describes the way the badger is hunted and caught, he imbues the creature with a quiet heroism and nobility. After describing the badger’s appearance and habits, Clare then details how the badger is caught, trapped, and baited.
The badger grunting on his woodland track
With shaggy hide and sharp nose scrowed with black
Roots in the bushes and the woods, and makes
A great high burrow in the ferns and brakes.
With nose on ground he runs an awkward pace,
And anything will beat him in the race.
The shepherd’s dog will run him to his den
Followed and hooted by the dogs and men. Read the rest of this entry
John Clare (1793-1864) is still almost criminally underrated as a poet: as a Romantic poet, as a nature poet, and as a great English poet, full stop. ‘The Thunder Mutters’ is a short poem that sees Clare capturing the effect that the rumbling of thunder has upon the natural world.
The Thunder Mutters
The thunder mutters louder & more loud
With quicker motion hay folks ply the rake
Ready to burst slow sails the pitch black cloud
& all the gang a bigger haycock make
To sit beneath—the woodland winds awake Read the rest of this entry