I Am

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 shades in love and death's oblivion lost;
And yet I am! and live with shadows tost

Into the nothingness of scorn and noise,
Into the living sea of waking dreams,
Where there is neither sense of life nor joys,
But the vast shipwreck of my life's esteems;
And e'en the dearest- that I loved the best-
Are strange- nay, rather stranger than the rest.

I long for scenes where man has never trod;
A place where woman never smil'd 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.

by John Clare

Comments (55)

'I long for scenes where man has never trod Pure genius
which meter is this poem? ?
The human life destined to live with others in this world often feels isolated and disillusioned. A great writing.
That poems like this one, exist, make life more bearable.
John Clare is one of greatest poets of the 18th and 19th century (and undoubtedly one of the best British poets) and it makes me extremely angry when he is classed as a peasant poet, as if to belittle his reputation. His recording of the natural world, as he saw it at first hand, is far superior to anything Wordsworth or any of his ilk could produce. If nothing else his writing should be viewed as great historical and social pieces of work.
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