Thursday 5 December 2013

Anthology 16

Here's something to counteract the chill of a blowy December day - John Clare observing a sultry high summer noon. As usual with Clare, he doesn't bother with punctuation, but this is a correct and regular English sonnet. As usual too, the poet is absent. Clare is a seeing eye and a hearing ear, his verse a rapt notation of the natural world around him. He describes it tenderly, with a clear eye and scrupulous care.

The midday hour of twelve the clock counts oer
A sultry stillness lulls the air asleep
The very buzz of flye is heard no more
Nor faintest wrinkles oer the waters creep
Like one large sheet of glass the waters shine
Reflecting on their face the burnt sunbeam
The very fish their sturting play decline
Seeking the willow shadows side the stream
And where the hawthorn branches oer the pool
The little bird forsaking song and nest
Flutters on dripping twigs his limbs to cool
And splashes in the stream his burning breast
O free from thunder for a sudden shower
To cherish nature in this noon-day hour.

['sturting' means contending]

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