January 20, 2012

John Clare's 'The Mouse's Nest'

Harvest Mouse nest

I found a ball of grass among the hay
And proged it as I passed and went away
And when I looked I fancied something stirred
And turned again and hoped to catch the bird
When out an old mouse bolted in the wheat
With all her young ones hanging at her teats
She looked so odd and so grotesque to me
I ran and wondered what the thing could be
And pushed the knapweed bunches where I stood
When the mouse hurried from the crawling brood
The young ones squeaked and when I went away
She found her nest again among the hay.
The water o’er the pebbles scarce could run
And broad old cesspools glittered in the sun.

Seamus Heaney describes this poem as 'seven couplets wound up like clockwork and then set free to spin merrily through their foreclosed motions'.

John Clare

John Clare


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