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JOHN CLARE

1793-1864

627                           Written in Northampton County Asylum

I AM! yet what I am who cares, or knows?
   My friends forsake me like a memory lost.
I am the self-consumer of my woes;
   They rise and vanish, an oblivious host,
Shadows of life, whose very soul is lost.
And yet I amI livethough I am tossd
Into the nothingness of scorn and noise,
   Into the living sea of waking dream,
Where there is neither sense of life, nor joys,
   But the huge shipwreck of my own esteem
And all thats dear. Even those I loved the best
Are strangenay, they are stranger than the rest.

I long for scenes where man has never trod
   For scenes where woman never smiled or wept
There to abide with my Creator, God,
   And sleep as I in childhood sweetly slept,
Full of high thoughts, unborn. So let me lie,
The grass below; above, the vaulted sky.

 

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