Poem of the Week: First Love by John Clare

John Clare is one of those infamous poets that everyone seems to love and I’m no exception. I pretty much love everything I’ve read of his, but instead of the usual ‘I Am’, I thought I’d go for a different Clare poem to share this week. The rhythm and rhyme scheme of this poem is flawless and I love the representation of love at first sight with all the juxtapositions he brings of night at day, and summer in winter, etc. LOVE LOVE LOVE.

I ne’er was struck before that hour
With love so sudden and so sweet,
Her face it bloomed like a sweet flower
And stole my heart away complete.
My face turned pale as deadly pale.
My legs refused to walk away,
And when she looked, what could I ail?
My life and all seemed turned to clay.

And then my blood rushed to my face
And took my eyesight quite away,
The trees and bushes round the place
Seemed midnight at noonday.
I could not see a single thing,
Words from my eyes did start —
They spoke as chords do from the string,
And blood burnt round my heart.

Are flowers the winter’s choice?
Is love’s bed always snow?
She seemed to hear my silent voice,
Not love’s appeals to know.
I never saw so sweet a face
As that I stood before.
My heart has left its dwelling-place
And can return no more

P.S. John Clare was a pretty crazy guy but I think the truthfulness of this poem is pretty astounding. Maybe to see the truth we all need to be a little crazy, or maybe we all are…Deep.

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