In the foothills of the Rockies, early spring has come. The brown of the grass has a subtle shade of green. The yucca leaves seem greener and the days are warm, even hot. Here, winter, could still raise a paw in the form of a snowstorm. We are never truly free of winter until late May. Still I bought a bunch of daffodils and have been reading poems about Spring. I came across the work of John Clare.
John Clare was born in 1793, the son of a poor farm hand. Both his nutrition and education were poor. He only reached the height of five feet and was lucky to learn to read and write. He had to start work herding animals at the age of seven. Yet poets weren't always rich. Clare was determined to write from his teen years onward.
I love his poetry for its knowledge of nature and simplicity of language, a rare thing amond nineteenth century poets. He reminds me a bit of Emily Dickinson.
Here follows a simple poem with a bit of humor.
The Spring is come, and Spring flowers coming too,
The crocus, patty kay, the rich hearts' ease;
The polyanthus peeps with blebs of dew,
And daisy flowers; the buds swell on the trees;
While oer the odd flowers swim grandfather bees
In the old homestead rests the cottage cow;
The dogs sit on their haunches near the pail,
The least one to the stranger growls 'bow wow,'
Then hurries to the door and cocks his tail,
To knaw the unfinished bone; the placid cow
Looks oer the gate; the thresher's lumping flail
Is all the noise the spring encounters now.
What is interesting for me is his knowledge of the flowers and the humor of the onomatopeia of the dog's bark. Clare was dubbed "the peasant poet." If one loves poetry and wishes to really know how the other half lived and created in nineteenth century England, reading John Clare would be a very good idea.
poet John Clare