John Clare

By Robert Ilson

"John Clare looked carefully at hedgerows" -- Russell Hoban

 

The rabbits skirling with dismay

In maiming traps, the badgers choked

In hound-sluiced blood : on John Clare's way

These were remarked -- yet also stroked

Were oxeye, woodbine, dogrose ; praised

The housefly in both cot and hall ;

The Question of the Gipsies raised ;

The ploughman, cowboy, milkmaid all

Acknowledged ; bird, beast, wing, hoof, paw

Made truly known by one who felt

That Nature, red in tooth and claw,

 

Is also bright in plume and pelt.