By John Clare
I am—yet what I am none cares or knows;
My friends forsake me like a memory lost:
I am the self-consumer of my woes—
They rise and vanish in oblivious host,
Like shadows in love’s frenzied stifled throes
And yet I am, and live—like vapours tossed
Into the nothingness of scorn and noise,
Into the living sea of waking dreams,
Where there is neither sense of life or joys,
But the vast shipwreck of my life’s esteems;
Even the dearest that I loved the best
Are strange—nay, rather, stranger than the rest.
I long for scenes where man hath never trod
A place where woman never smiled or wept
There to abide with my Creator, God,
And sleep as I in childhood sweetly slept,
Untroubling and untroubled where I lie
The grass below—above the vaulted sky.
John Clare 1793–1864
I am: yet what I am nobody knows
As even I nay know who might I be;
I am the neverending frozen snow,
The very same as far mine eyne could see:
I am the everlasting bitter tear,
The one remaining drop of salted fear.
I was: yet what I was nobody cares
As even I nay care who had I been;
I was the everlasting molten smear,
The very one aparted from my dreams:
I was the neverending wronged Hell,
The one in which so many men befell.
I’ll be: yet what I’ll be nay man shall tell
As even I nay tell who shan’t I be;
I’ll be thine neverending sole farewell,
Thy weary everlasting lone debris:
I’ll be the damned soul – I’ll chase and haunt
The ones to whom my core so flims’ly daunt.
11 Aug 11