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I Am

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 oblivious host,
Like shades in love and death's oblivion lost;
And yet I am! and live with shadows tost

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

I long for scenes where man has never trod;
A place where woman never smil'd or wept;
There to abide with my creator, God,
And sleep as I in childhood sweetly slept:
Untroubling and untroubled where I lie;
The grass below--above the vaulted sky.
John Clare

Last few words: 
I consider John Clare to be up there with the 'greats' like Byron, Keats, Wordsworth. I make no apologies for choosing a traditional poem from the 19th century. He was self-taught, of humble background and wrote such expressive. descriptive poetry regarding all the nature he saw around him. English heritage have a museum dedicated to his life & works in his home village of Helpston. In his heyday, he was feted and went to london to perform his work...however, fickle fashions in poetry and the thrusting dynamic of Victorian society considered him to be 'old-fashioned' after a relatively short time. This combined with a complicated love-life caused him great anxiety and ultimately what we would term 'depression'. He was a great champion of saving the land from the destruction wrought by the Industrial Revolution. he hated the loss of fields for the railways and factories. He was also a troubled soul. Clearly showing symptoms of depression after a relationship failure he was locked up in an Asylum in Essex. So unhappy was he that he escaped and walked over 100 miles back to his beloved county of Northamptonshire. Only to be promptly returned. The revelation of the self torment and the gentle expressive language used in his 'nature' poems marks him out. Interestingly, when I taught English overseas, my senior students knew more about his works than my A'Level students back home! There are international societies dedicated to his poetry and English Heritage consider him to be part of the English Literary Heritage. QED Ellie.
Editing stage: 


II wrote a comment here and it just disappeared!!!!!
( oh bother and I thought it was rather nice :(
So now it will be even shorter.

I like John Clare, he is a master of words,
the rhythm curling itself round the meanings
in such an enchanting manner.

Well I will add once again, what I had before,
my favourite two little bits from his works.

The humbler one's concept of beauty,
the more likely on is to find it.


I love the muse who sits her down,
Upon the molehills little lap,
Who feels no fear to stain her gown,
And pauses by the hedgerow gap.

I am not member of the workshop,
so I hope you will pardon the intrusion,
love to you Ann of Norway/Nordic Cloud.

"The image of yourself which you see in a mirror Is dead,
but the reflection of the moon on water, lives." Kenzan.

Your lack of membership has been rectified lol................................stan

You will need to say why you think this poem ranks among grat poetry. OK to await a few more comments but don't wait too long..............stan

People can read it's under the poem.

author comment

Hey Hun

I would copy your comment to here so the discussion can commence
Otherwise the greats thread will go haywire lol

Plus each convo will be easier to follow

Love Jc xxx

"My head is broken but unbowed" - William Ernest Henley

I love John Clares work I tend to agree with you that this poem conforms to what has been discussed here regards rhythm etc my favourite of his words

In every language upon earth,
On every shore, o'er every sea,
I give my name immortal birth
And kept my spirit with the free.

John Clare ~ A Vision

Jayne-Chloe xxx

"My head is broken but unbowed" - William Ernest Henley

A sad poem that portrays a great trend, that due to bad news all the time and family units breaking up where we have been overtaken for some reason by many people feeling alone..
Mankind was not meant to be alone, we have lost the ability to take our own council as the base for doing so is out of reach or has never been seen.
We should have a special school for self awareness, and self management..
Would have loved to see a Date on this poem to see when this feeling was and if it has been around for a while, Thanks for sharing,
Yours Ian.T

There are a million reasons to believe in yourself,
So find more reasons to believe in others..

This is the net's report on John Clare's Poem, it amazed me to find that in the 1880's though he was deemed unbalanced, (sometimes this was a bad excuse by families to hide some people) that a feeling that is more prevalent today existed with such an individual strength.

I Am (or Lines: I Am)
Is a poem written by John Clare in late 1844 or 1845 and published in 1848.
It was composed when Clare was in the Northampton General Lunatic Asylum later renamed St Andrew's Hospital.
Isolated by his mental illness from his family and friends.
This poem, written in three stanzas of regular iambic pentameter and an "ababab" rhyme scheme in the first stanza and an "ababcc" scheme for the second and third, details.
Clare's finding of a sanctuary from the travails of his life in the asylum by reasserting his individuality in life and love of the beauty of the natural world in which he will find peace in death.
An irony of Clare writing a poem declaring 'I am' is that at times during his years in asylums, he believed he was Lord Byron and Shakespeare, even re-editing Byron's poems at one point.

Hope this short piece helps to understand where the words came from, I think that this is so meaningful of many today, if only they could find someone to talk to the problem would be halved,
Yours Ian.T

There are a million reasons to believe in yourself,
So find more reasons to believe in others..


That word covered it, but not so memorable
that I would call it great, but then that's me.
The content a little heavy not only because
it is dated, and no touch of magic that sets
my mind in a state of excitement, which
those that I consider great do.

Not believeing in God, doesn't help I guess.
Anyhow, those are my thoughts about it stan.

Love Ann.

P.S. Lost a ref from stan asking me to comment on this poem!
Thai was in answer to that.

"The image of yourself which you see in a mirror Is dead,
but the reflection of the moon on water, lives." Kenzan.

This is a poem after my own heart lol. It has great subtext, imagery which draws one in, structure which doesn't intrude. and enough rhyme to make it easy to remember if one so chose. And to think it was penned in an asylum! Only thing that bothers me is made up words (like tost) used to maintain rhyme. In my opinion tossed would have worked as well. Now I brace myself for being told that tost is archaic form of tossed lol..............stan

I have looked up Tost and it only appears in my dictionary of Slang , it is a bastardisation of Toss, I suppose to toss is the wrong context, but if then used as Tossed it would need an apostrophe, such as Tos't, but if my Slang says it's a corruption of Toss so be it.
About time we tried to correct our English but I hear the French tried it with their Language and failed, so with our friends throughout the world we don't have a chance.
Your input is impeccable young man, Yours Ian.T

There are a million reasons to believe in yourself,
So find more reasons to believe in others..

Many thanks for introducing us to this poet and especially to this piece . I believe it says what any of us like to say about him/her self in a distinguished way. Easy words , no complicated structure , great rhyme and above all a great subtect as well. Reading it the first few times I thought some culling could have been useful to give the message straight forward but then I thought no each word has its own weight.
Thanks again .


Poetry is when an emotion has found its thought and the thought has found words
........Robert Frost☺

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That first stanza strikes me as somewhat flawed though.
My friends forsake me like a memory lost;
I am the self-consumer of my woes,
They rise and vanish in oblivious host, [bad rhyme for lost]
Like shades in love and death's oblivion lost; [repetition of lost, questionable near repetition in oblivious/oblivion]
[there is nothing wrong with the word tost, it means the same as tossed, is pronounced the same and is a valid, if slightly archaic usage]

Great in that it speaks to many through the ages suffering from alienation and dispossession.
It has passed the test of time and memorability, who does not recognise the lines
Untroubling and untroubled where I lie;
The grass below--above the vaulted sky.
even if they haven't read the poem?!

A new workshop on the most important element of poetry-
'Rhythm and Meter in Poetry'

Not being in this man's head, it's hard to know how he wrote or rewrote this poem.maybe it was too hard to edit at the time - such a raw poem


The very first line throws me off and i must pull myself away from reading it over and over again for clarity. I read it out loud twice and still the first stanza makes me stumbling.
I never read any of Clare poetry before today. Because of the first line and then rest of first stanza makes the poem less than great for me.

As for the last two stanza they are surperb. I enjoy reading them and think they are great. In my opinion Clare needed to tweak the first stanza for a better rhythm.

When I read poery, If I can't get pass the first stanza I usually go no further, but because this is in this workshop I read it thourghly. I like it but, it fall short of great but, is a good poem.

*Collaborative Poetry Workshop* American Version of Japanese Poetry ~ Renga ~ Haiku, Senyru, Tanka.

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This is the first of Clare's work that I have experienced. To say I'm knocked out by it is an understatement. He's speaking my language and everything is in the right place. It takes true talent to do a self-referential poem of this type and not come off as 'precious' or overly sentimental. He has navigated these waters with the skill of a master sailor. I am impressed greatly and will seek out his work in the future.


Blue Demon77

"What I want is to be what I was before the knife,
before the brooch pin, before the salve, fixed me in this parenthesis:
Horses fluent in the wind. A place, a time gone out of mind."

The Eye Mote-Sylvia Plath

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