A Poem From The Year

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“Summer Moods” by John Clare (1793-1864):

I love at eventide to walk alone
Down narrow lanes o’erhung with dewy thorn
Where, from the long grass underneath, the snail
Jet black creeps out and sprouts his timid horn.
I love to muse o’er meadows newly mown
Where withering grass perfumes the sultry air,
Where bees search round with sad and weary drone
In vain for flowers that bloomed but newly there,
While in the juicy corn the hidden quail
Cries “wet my foot” and hid as thoughts unborn
The fairylike and seldom-seen landrail
Utters “craik craik” like voices underground,
Right glad to meet the evening’s dewy veil
And see the light fade into glooms around.

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(From “I Am”: The Selected Poetry of John Clare, edited by Jonathan Bate © 2003 by Jonathan Bate. Reprinted by permission of Farrar, Straus & Giroux. Photo by Tom Marsh)