For John Clare (Poem)

I am a wiser, better man for reading you;

For words that showed me all the beauty brought

In summer’s light and autumn’s quiet gloom;

For meaning, I’ve so often wrongly sought

In fancy things that flicker out

And leave me grasping, holding on to nought.


Your loneliness is shared through time

And passed through words I’ve soaked into my pores

And through your pain, you’ve softened mine;

My self-consuming woes and aching sores,

Eased by rhymes and soothed by stanzas sweet,

From those you wrote to others incomplete.


I hope you passed in gentle thoughts and prayers;

I hope you rest below the vaulted sky in death;

I hope your skin can feel the summer air

And nose can smell the meadow’s sighing breath.

And though you’re gone, I do not feel deprived;

You’re on my shelves and still alive.


by Harry Husbands