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Everyone Can Read More

As we leave January, let’s remind ourselves that the days are getting warmer and lighter with an extract from John Clare’s 1820 poem, February.


February, A Thaw – John Clare


The snow is gone from cottage tops

The thatch moss glows in brighter green

And eves in quick succession drops

Where grinning ides once hath been

Pit patting Wi a pleasant noise

In tubs set by the cottage door

And ducks and geese wi happy joys

Douse in the yard pond brimming oer


The sun peeps thro the window pane

Which childern mark wi laughing eye

And in the wet street steal again

To tell each other spring is nigh

And as young hope the past recalls

In playing groups will often draw

Building beside the sunny walls

Their spring-play-huts of sticks or straw


And oft in pleasures dreams they hie

Round homsteads by the village side

Scratting the hedgrow mosses bye

Where painted pooty shells abide

Mistaking oft the ivy spray

For leaves that come wi budding spring

And wondering in their search for play

Why birds delay to build and sing


The milkmaid singing leaves her bed

As glad as happy thoughts can be

While magpies chatter oer her head

As jocund in the change as she

Her cows around the closes stray

Nor lingering wait the foddering boy

Tossing the molehills in their play

And staring round in frolic joy


Ploughmen go whistling to their toils

And yoke again the rested plough

And mingling oer the mellow soils

Boys' shouts and whips are noising now


The shepherd now is often seen

By warm banks oer his work to bend

Or oer a gate or stile to lean

Chattering to a passing friend


Odd hive bees fancying winter oer

And dreaming in their combs of spring

Creeps on the slab beside their door

And strokes its legs upon its wing

While wild ones half asleep are humming

Round snowdrop bells a feeble note

And pigions coo of summer coming

Picking their feathers on the cote


The barking dogs by lane and wood

Drive sheep afield from foddering ground

And eccho in her summer mood

Briskly mocks the cheery sound

The flocks as from a prison broke

Shake their wet fleeces in the sun

While following fast a misty smoke

Reeks from the moist grass as they run.

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