The Yellowhammer

John Clare

Reading click here..the yellowhammer – john clare

When shall I see the white thorn leaves agen
And yellowhammers gath’ring the dry bents
By the dyke side on stilly moor or fen
Feathered wi love and natures good intents
Rude is the nest this Architect invents
Rural the place wi cart ruts by dyke side
Dead grass, horse hair and downy headed bents
Tied to dead thistles she doth well provide
Close to a hill o’ ants where cowslips bloom
And shed o’er meadows far their sweet perfume
In early Spring when winds blow chilly cold
The yellowhammer trailing grass will come
To fix a place and choose an early home
With yellow breast and head of solid gold.

The Skylark

John Clare

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the skylark – john clare

The rolls and harrows lie at rest beside 
The battered road; and spreading far and wide
Above the russet clods, the corn is seen
Sprouting its spiry points of tender green,
Where squats the hare, to terrors wide awake,
Like some brown clod the harrows failed to break.
Opening their golden caskets to the sun,
The buttercups make schoolboys eager run,
To see who shall be first to pluck the prize –
Up from their hurry, see, the skylark flies,
And o’er her half-formed nest, with happy wings
Winnows the air, till in the cloud she sings,
Then hangs a dust-spot in the sunny skies,
And drops, and drops, till in her nest she lies,
Which they unheeded passed – not dreaming then
That birds which flew so high would drop agen
To nests upon the ground, which anything
May come at to destroy. Had they the wing
Like such a bird, themselves would be too proud,
And build on nothing but a passing cloud!
As free from danger as the heavens are free
From pain and toil, there would they build and be,
And sail about the world to scenes unheard
Of and unseen – Oh, were they but a bird!
So think they, while they listen to its song,
And smile and fancy and so pass along;
While its low nest, moist with the dews of morn,
Lies safely, with the leveret, in the corn

The Wren – John Clare

Why is the cuckoo’s melody preferred

And rich nightingale’s rich song so fondly praised

In poet’s rhymes? Is there no other bird

Of nature’s minstrelsy that oft hath raised

One’s heart to ecstasy and mirth as well?

I judge not how another’s taste is caught – 

With mine there’s other birds that bear the bell,

Whose song hath crowds of happy memories brought,

Such the wood robin singing in the dell

And little wren that many a time hath sought

Shelter from showers in huts where I did dwell

In early spring, the tenant of the plain

Tenting my sheep, and still they come to tell

The happy stories of the past again.