Wednesday, 9 August 2017

To an insignificant flower

Here is a poetic interlude on a rainy day in Suffolk. When smallholding, gardening or out for a country walk, it is good to take notice, not just of the task in hand or the dramatic or panoramic. This is by John Clare (1793-1864), one of our best poets of rural life. It is taken from  Poems of Rural Life and Scenery (1820).



AND though thou seem’st a weedling wild,
Wild and neglected like to me,
Thou still art dear to Nature’s child,
And I will stoop to notice thee.

For oft, like thee, in wild retreat,
Array’d in humble garb like thee,
There’s many a seeming weed proves sweet,
As sweet as garden-flowers can be.

And, like to thee, each seeming weed
Flowers unregarded; like to thee,
Without improvement, runs to seed,
Wild and neglected like to me.

And, like to thee, when Beauty’s cloth’d
In lowly raiment like to thee,
Disdainful Pride, by Beauty loath’d,
No beauties there can ever see.

For, like to thee, my Emma blows,
A flower like thee I dearly prize;
And, like to thee, her humble clothes
Hide every charm from prouder eyes.

But though, like thee, a lowly flower,
If fancied by a polish’d eye,
She soon would bloom beyond my power,
The finest flower beneath the sky.

And, like to thee, lives many a swain
With genius blest; but, like to thee,
So humble, lowly, mean, and plain,
No one will notice them,—or me.

So, like to thee, they live unknown,
Wild weeds obscure; and, like to thee,
Their sweets are sweet to them alone:
The only pleasure known to me.

Yet when I’m dead, let’s hope I have
Some friend in store, as I’m to thee,
That will find out my lowly grave,
 And heave a sigh to notice me.


  1. Thank you for a summer poem.
    It's absolutely pouring and has been almost all day over here in Mid Suffolk - Horrible weather. No good for gardening or getting a concrete base done for the new oil tank either!

  2. Yes, rain all day here to today.