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‘The Yellowhammer’s Nest’: A Poem by John Clare

John Clare (1793-1864) is still a rather overlooked figure in English Romanticism and nature poetry, but he’s been called the greatest nature poet in English literature (by his biographer, Jonathan Bate). His poem ‘The Yellowhammer’s Nest’ shows Clare’s wonderful sensitivity to vowel sounds, as he explores the patterns found within nature by focusing on the nest of the bird, which is described as ‘poet-like’.

‘The Yellowhammer’s Nest’ by John Clare

Just by the wooden brig a bird flew up,
Frit by the cowboy as he scrambled down
To reach the misty dewberry—let us stoop
And seek its nest—the brook we need not dread,
’Tis scarcely deep enough a bee to drown,
So it sings harmless o’er its pebbly bed
—Ay here it is, stuck close beside the bank
Beneath the bunch of grass that spindles rank Read the rest of this entry