John Clare – Five Poems by the Renowned Nature Poet

John Clare poems

July 13 marks the birthday of English nature poet John Clare …

We honor the occasion with five of our favorite poems by John Clare …

John Clare (13 July 1793 – 20 May 1864) was an English poet. The son of a farm labourer, he 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.”   (via Wikipedia)

To the Clouds

John Clare


O painted clouds! sweet beauties of the sky,
How have I view’d your motion and your rest
When like fleet hunters ye have left mine eye,
In your thin gauze of woolly-fleecing drest;
Or in your threaten’d thunder’s grave black vest,
Like black deep waters slowly moving by,
Awfully striking the spectator’s breast
With your Creator’s dread sublimity,
As admiration mutely views your storms.
And I do love to see you idly lie,
Painted by heav’n as various as your forms,
Pausing upon the eastern mountain high,
As morn awakes with spring’s wood-harmony;
And sweeter still, when in your slumbers sooth
You hang the western arch o’er day’s proud eye:
Still as the even-pool, uncurv’d and smooth,
My gazing soul has look’d most placidly;
And higher still devoutly wish’d to strain,
To wipe your shrouds and sky’s blue blinders by,
With all the warmness of a moon-struck brain,–
To catch a glimpse of Him who bids you reign,
And view the dwelling of all majesty.

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