Archive for John Clare

Insects, by John Clare

Posted in Literature with tags , , , on July 9, 2019 by telescoper

These tiny loiterers on the barley’s beard,
And happy units of a numerous herd
Of playfellows, the laughing Summer brings,
Mocking the sunshine in their glittering wings,
How merrily they creep, and run, and fly!
No kin they bear to labour’s drudgery,
Smoothing the velvet of the pale hedge-rose;
And where they fly for dinner no one knows–
The dew-drops feed them not–they love the shine
Of noon, whose sun may bring them golden wine.
All day they’re playing in their Sunday dress–
Till night goes sleep, and they can do no less;
Then, to the heath bell’s silken hood they fly,
And like to princes in their slumbers lie,
Secure from night, and dropping dews, and all,
In silken beds and roomy painted hall.
So merrily they spend their summer day,
Now in the cornfields, now the new-mown hay.
One almost fancies that such happy things,
With coloured hoods and richly burnished wings,
Are fairy folk, in splendid masquerade
Disguised, as if of mortal folk afriad,
Keeping their merry pranks a mystery still,
Lest glaring day should do their secrets ill.

by John Clare (1793-1861)



The Secret

Posted in Poetry with tags , on March 24, 2013 by telescoper

I loved thee, though I told thee not,
Right earlily and long,
Thou wert my joy in every spot,
My theme in every song.

And when I saw a stranger face
Where beauty held the claim,
I gave it like a secret grace
The being of thy name.

And all the charms of face or voice
Which I in others see
Are but the recollected choice
Of what I felt for thee.

by John Clare (1793-1864).


The Old Year

Posted in Poetry with tags , on January 1, 2012 by telescoper

The Old Year’s gone away
To nothingness and night:
We cannot find him all the day
Nor hear him in the night:
He left no footstep, mark or place
In either shade or sun:
The last year he’d a neighbour’s face,
In this he’s known as none.

All nothing everywhere:
Mists we on mornings see
Have more substance when they’re here
And more of form than he.
He was a friend by every fire,
In every cot and hall –
A guest to every heart’s desire,
And now he’s nought at all.

Old papers thrown away,
Old garments cast aside,
The talk of yesterday,
All things identified;
But times once torn away
No voices can recall:
The eve of New Year’s Day
Left the Old Year lost to all.

by John Clare (1793-1864).


Posted in Poetry with tags , on June 4, 2011 by telescoper

Now summer is in flower and natures hum
Is never silent round her sultry bloom
Insects as small as dust are never done
Wi’ glittering dance and reeling in the sun
And green wood fly and blossom haunting bee
Are never weary of their melody
Round field hedge now flowers in full glory twine
Large bindweed bells wild hop and streakd woodbine
That lift athirst their slender throated flowers
Agape for dew falls and for honey showers
These round each bush in sweet disorder run
And spread their wild hues to the sultry sun.

by John Clare (1793-1864).

The Instinct of Hope

Posted in Biographical, Poetry, Science Politics with tags , , on September 23, 2010 by telescoper

A strenuous and stressful three days commuting to and from sunny Swindon for the STFC Astronomy Grants Panel are now over, just in time for the onset of teaching term next week. For reasons of confidentiality I can’t talk about the actual business of the grants panel, and it’s nowhere near finished anyway – there are several more meetings to come before any results come out. I would say, though, that it’s a curious job that manages to be both inspiring and depressing at the same time. The inspiring thing is that you get to read about so much really exciting science being done by all kinds of people in departments all over the country; the depressing thing is knowing that there isn’t anywhere near enough money to support all the things that one would like to in an ideal world. And our world is becoming less like an ideal one every day…

I decided for these three days not to stay in Swindon but to commute to and from from Cardiff. On balance, I think that was a good decision: I got to sleep in my own bed, didn’t have to arrange for someone to do Columbo’s jabs, and also saved STFC quite a bit of money – a day return from Cardiff to Swindon, a trip of almost exactly one hour each way, is only £26.80 at peak time. The downside was that I’ve been up at 5am each morning and have been in a vegetative state by the time I got home each evening, including this one!

Anyway, lacking the energy to put together a proper post, I’ll just put up this poem by John Clare which appeared in the  Guardian last saturday and which, for some reason, popped into my head during the train journey home. Somehow it seems apt.

Is there another world for this frail dust
To warm with life and be itself again?
Something about me daily speaks there must,
And why should instinct nourish hopes in vain?
‘Tis nature’s prophesy that such will be,
And everything seems struggling to explain
The close sealed volume of its mystery.
Time wandering onward keeps its usual pace
As seeming anxious of eternity,
To meet that calm and find a resting place.
E’en the small violet feels a future power
And waits each year renewing blooms to bring,
And surely man is no inferior flower
To die unworthy of a second spring?