This blog is for everyone who uses words.

The ordinary-sized words are for everyone, but the big ones are especially for children.

Saturday, 5 March 2016

Saturday Rave: Young Lambs by John Clare

Nothing is so beautiful as Spring, and yet at the same time April is the cruellest month... 

We're nowhere near April yet, but to wait for Spring in all its glory is rather to miss the point. Spring is for searching hopefully: Spring will always remain an untameable, tentative thing.

Here's John Clares' poem Young Lambs. It's not about glory, but hope and perhaps also the fragility of innocence.

The spring is coming by a many signs;
The trays are up, the hedges broken down,
That fenced the haystack, and the remnant shines
Like some old antique fragment weathered brown.
And where suns peep, in every sheltered place,
The little early buttercups unfold
A glittering star or two - till many trace
The edges of the blackthorn clumps in gold
And then a little lamb bolts up behind
The hill and wags his tail to meet the yoe,
And then another, sheltered from the wind,
Lies all his length as dead - and lets me go
Close bye and never stirs but baking lies,
With legs stretched out as though he could not rise.

Word To Use Today: yoe. This must be a local word for ewe (Clare was brought up near Peterborough, England). There's a Scots word yowe, which is presumably related, and all these words probably go right back through Latin and Greek to the Sanskrit avi, which means sheep.

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