For John Clare

Song Cycle by Trevor Hold (1939 - 2004)

Word count: 407

?. Clock-a-clay [sung text not yet checked]

In the cowslip pips I lie,
Hidden from a buzzing fly,
While green grass beneath me lies,
Pearled with dew like fishes' eyes
Here I lie, a clock-a-clay,
Waiting for the time of day.

While [the]1 forest quakes surprise,
And the wild wind sobs and sighs,
My home rocks as like to fall,
On its pillar green and tall,
While the pattering rain drives by,
Clock-a-clay keeps warm and dry.

Day by day and night by night,
All the week I hide from sight,
In the cowslip pips I lie,
In rain and dew still warm and dry,
Day and night and night and day,
Red, black-spotted clock-a-clay.

My home shakes in wind and showers,
Pale green pillar topped with flowers,
Bending at the wild wind's breath,
Till I touch the grass beneath;
Here I live, lone clock-a-clay,
Watching for the time of day.


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View original text (without footnotes)
Note: clock-a-clay is an old name for the ladybird.
1 Bennett: "grassy"

Researcher for this text: Emily Ezust [Administrator]

?. To John Clare [sung text not yet checked]

Well, honest John, how fare you now at home?
The spring is come, and birds are building nests;
The old cock robin to the stye is come,
With olive feathers and its ruddy breast;
And the old cock, with wattles and red comb,
Struts with the hens, and seems to like some best,
Then crows, and looks about for little crumbs,
Swept out by little folks an hour ago;
The pigs sleep in the stye; the bookman comes--
The little boy lets home-close nesting go,
And pockets tops and taws, where daisies bloom,
To look at the new number just laid down,
With lots of pictures, and good stories too,
And Jack the Giant-killer's high renown.


Researcher for this text: Emily Ezust [Administrator]

?. I am [sung text not yet checked]

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]1 oblivious host,
[Like shades in love and death's oblivion lost]2;
And yet I am, [and live with shadows tossed]3

Into the nothingness of scorn and noise,
Into the living sea of waking [dreams]4,
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 -]5
Are strange - nay, [rather]6 stranger than the rest.

I long for scenes where man has never trod,
A place where woman never smiled or wept;
There to abide with my Creator, God,
And sleep as I in childhood sweetly slept:
[Untroubling and untroubled where I lie]7, -
The grass below - above the vaulted sky.


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View original text (without footnotes)
1 Muhly: "an"
2 Muhly: "Shadows of life, whose very soul is lost"
3 Muhly: "- I live - though I am toss'd"
4 Muhly: "dream"
5 Muhly: "But the huge shipwreck of my own extreme and all that's dear./ Even those I loved the best"
6 Muhly: "they are"
7 Muhly: "Full of high thoughts, unborn. So let me lie"

Research team for this text: Emily Ezust [Administrator] , Malcolm Wren [Guest Editor]