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Saturday, 12 September 2020

Saturday Rave: The Shepherd's Calendar. August by John Clare

 Yes, sorry, I am a bit late posting this account of Autumn. I got carried away with Very Short Poems and found myself in September before I knew it.

Ah well.

John Clare and Thomas Hardy were both poets of Man-in-Nature, and if they were alive today then...well, they might both be estate agents for all I know, but they'd both have been brilliant film-directors. Hardy quite often gives us a panning shot that swoops in to a close-up; and for an establishing sequence there's no one anywhere to beat Clare anywhere.

Here's the beginning of August:

Harvest approaches with its busy day

The wheat tan brown & barley bleaches grey

In yellow garb the oat land intervenes

& tawny glooms the valley thronged with beans.

Silent the village grows - wood wandering dreams

Seem not so lonely as its quiet seems

Doors are shut up as on a winters day

& and not a child about them lies at play

The dust that winnows neath the breezes feet

Is all that stirs about the silent street

Fancy might think that desert spreading fear

Had whispered terrors into quiets ear



I think that Clare's August film might have turned out to be a Western...

Word To Use Today: winnow. The Old English form of this word was windwian. It means both to blow, and to separate the grain from the tiny bits of dry leaf that surrounds it. Clever.

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