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John Clare: The Instinct of Hope

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?

Public Domain

The son of a farm labourer, John Clare (1793 – 1864) became known for his celebrations of the English countryside and sorrows at its disruption. His poetry underwent major re-evaluation in the late 20th century: he is now often seen as a major 19th-century poet. His biographer Jonathan Bate called Clare “the greatest labouring-class poet that England has ever produced. No one has ever written more powerfully of nature, of a rural childhood, and of the alienated and unstable self.” (Wikipedia)

10 comments on “John Clare: The Instinct of Hope

  1. vengodalmare
    July 9, 2022

    I allowed myself to reblog this poem, very beautiful.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. edisonmarshalljenningsgmailcom
    July 8, 2022

    Exquisite poem. As for ““the greatest labouring-class poet that England has ever produced,” well, there’s also William Blake. But doubtless John Clare is a great poet.


  3. thomasgoff
    July 8, 2022

    I should read more of and about John Clare, including whether his poetry is better served by his original spelling and wording, or as revised to be acceptable for publication in his day. Good sonnet, in any case.


  4. loranneke
    July 8, 2022

    You know what I really love, is that one can imagine that hope is, indeed, an instinct — & that because it is an instinct in all, it might prevail & save the world after all… Laure-Anne

    Laure-Anne Bosselaar https://laureanne.net https://poets.org/poet/laure-anne-bosselaar https://fourwaybooks.com/site/laure-anne-bosselaar/

    Liked by 3 people

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