HumanitiesWeb.org - Editor's Selection of Poems (A Winter's Day) by John Clare
HumanitiesWeb HumanitiesWeb
WelcomeHistoryLiteratureArtMusicPhilosophyResourcesHelp
Periods Alphabetically Nationality Topics Themes Genres Glossary
pixel

Clare
Index
Selected Works
Quotations
Suggested Reading
Chronology
Related Materials

Search

Get Your Degree!

Find schools and get information on the program that’s right for you.

Powered by Campus Explorer

& etc
FEEDBACK

(C)1998-2013
All Rights Reserved.

Site last updated
26 June, 2013

Editor's Selection of Poems
A Winter's Day

by John Clare

Withering and keen the winter comes
While comfort flyes to close shut rooms
And sees the snow in feathers pass
Winnowing by the window glass
And unfelt tempests howl and beat
Above his head in corner seat
And musing oer the changing scene
Farmers behind the tavern screen
Sit-or wi elbow idly prest
On hob reclines the corners guest
Reading the news to mark again
The bankrupt lists or price of grain
Or old moores anual prophecys
That many a theme for talk supplys
Whose almanacks thumbd pages swarm
Wi frost and snow and many a storm
And wisdom gossipd from the stars
Of polities and bloody wars
He shakes his head and still proceeds
Neer doubting once of what he reads
All wonders are wi faith supplyd
Bible at once and weather guide
Puffing the while his red tipt pipe
Dreaming oer troubles nearly ripe
Yet not quite lost in profits way
He'll turn to next years harvest day
And winters leisure to regale
Hopes better times and sips his ale
While labour still pursues his way
And braves the tempest as he may
The thresher first thro darkness deep
Awakes the mornings winter sleep
Scaring the owlet from her prey
Long before she dreams of day
That blinks above head on the snow
Watching the mice that squeaks below
And foddering boys sojourn again
By ryhme hung hedge and frozen plain
Shuffling thro the sinking snows
Blowing his fingers as he goes
To where the stock in bellowings hoarse
Call for their meals in dreary close
And print full many a hungry track
Round circling hedge that guards the stack
Wi higgling tug he cuts the hay
And bares the forkfull loads away
And morn and evening daily throws
The little heaps upon the snows
The shepherd too in great coat wrapt
And straw bands round his stockings lapt
Wi plodding dog that sheltering steals
To shun the wind behind his heels
Takes rough and smooth the winter weather
And paces thro the snow together
While in the fields the lonly plough
Enjoys its frozen sabbath now
And horses too pass time away
In leisures hungry holiday
Rubbing and lunging round the yard
Dreaming no doubt of summer sward
As near wi idle pace they draw
To brouze the upheapd cribs of straw
While whining hogs wi hungry roar
Crowd around the kitchen door
Or when their scanty meal is done
Creep in the straw the cold to shun
And old hens scratting all the day
Seeks curnels chance may throw away
Pausing to pick the seed and grain
Then dusting up the chaff again
While in the barn holes hid from view
The cats their patient watch pursue
For birds which want in flocks will draw
From woods and fields to pick the straw
The soodling boy that saunters round
The yard on homward dutys bound
Now fills the troughs for noisy hogs
Oft asking aid from barking dogs
That tuggles at each flopping ear
Of such as scramble on too near
Or circld round wi thirsty stock
That for his swinging labours flock
At clanking pump his station takes
Half hid in mist their breathing makes
Or at the pond before the door
Which every night leaves frozen oer
Wi heavy beetle1 splinters round
The glossy ice wi jarring sound
While huddling geese as half asleep
Doth round the imprisond water creep
Silent and sad to wait his aid
And soon as ere a hole is made
They din his ears wi pleasures cry
And hiss at all that ventures nigh
Splashing wi jealous joys & vain
Their fill ere it be froze again
And woodstack climbs at maids desire
Throwing down faggots for the fire
Where stealing time he often stands
To warm his half froze tingling hands 
The schoolboy still in dithering joys
Pastime in leisure hours employs
And be the weather as it may
Is never at a loss for play
Rolling up giant heaps of snow
As noontide frets its little thaw
Making rude things of various names
Snow men or aught their fancy frames
Till numbd wi cold they quake away
And join at hotter sports to play
Kicking wi many a flying bound
The football oer the frozen ground
Or seeking bright glib ice to play
To sailing slide the hours away
As smooth and quick as shadows run
When clouds in autumn pass the sun
Some hurrying rambles eager take
To skait upon the meadow lake
Scaring the snipe from her retreat
From shelving banks unfrozen seat
Or running brook where icy spars
Which the pale sunlight specks wi stars
Shoots crizzling oer the restless tide
To many a likness petrified
Where fancy often stoops to pore
And turns again to wonder more
The more hen too wi fear opprest
Starts from her reedy shelterd nest
Bustling to get from foes away
And scarcly flies more fast then they
Skaiting along wi curving springs
Wi arms spread out like herons wings
They race away for pleasures sake
A hunters speed along the lake
And oft neath trees where ice is thin
Meet narrow scapes from breaking in
Again the robin waxes tame
And ventures pitys crumbs to claim
Picking the trifles off the snow
Which dames on purpose daily throw
And perching on the window sill
Where memory recolecting still
Knows the last winters broken pane
And there he hops and peeps again
The clouds of starnels dailey fly
Blackening thro the evening sky
To whittleseas1 reed wooded mere
And ozier holts by rivers near
And many a mingld swathy crowd
Rook crow and jackdaw noising loud
Fly too and fro to dreary fen
Dull winters weary flight agen
Flopping on heavy wings away
As soon as morning wakens grey
And when the sun sets round and red
Returns to naked woods to bed
Wood pigeons too in flocks appear
By hunger tamd from timid fear
They mid the sheep unstartld steal
And share wi them a scanty meal
Picking the green leaves want bestows
Of turnips sprouting thro the snows
The ickles from the cottage eaves
Which cold nights freakish labour leaves
Fret in the sun a partial thaw
Pattring on the pitted snow
But soon as ere hes out of sight
They eke afresh their tails at night
The sun soon creepeth out of sight
Behind the woods-and running night
Makes haste to shut the days dull eye
And grizzles oer the chilly sky
Dark deep and thick by day forsook
As cottage chimneys sooty nook
While maidens fresh as summer roses
Joining from the distant closes
Haste home wi yokes and swinging pail
And thresher too sets by his flail
And leaves the mice at peace agen
To fill their holes wi stolen grain
And owlets glad his toils are oer
Swoops by him as he shuts the door
The shepherd seeks his cottage warm
And tucks his hook beneath his arm
And weary in the cold to roam
Scenting the track that leadeth home
His dog wi swifter pace proceeds
And barks to urge his masters speed
Then turns and looks him in the face
And trotts before Wi mending pace
Till out of whistle from the swain
He sits him down and barks again
Anxious to greet the opend door
And meet the cottage fire once more
The robin that wi nimble eye
Glegs round a danger to espy
Now pops from out the opend door
From crumbs half left upon the floor
Nor wipes his bill on perching chair
Nor stays to clean a feather there
Scard at the cat that sliveth in
A chance from evenings glooms to win
To jump on chairs or tables nigh
Seeking what plunder may supply
The childerns litterd scraps to thieve
Or aught that negligence may leave
Creeping when huswives cease to watch
Or dairey doors are off the latch
On cheese or butter to regale
Or new milk reeking in .the pale
The hedger now in leathern coat
From woodland wilds and fields remote
After a journey far and slow
Knocks from his shoes the caking snow
And opes the welcome creaking door
Throwing his faggot on the floor
And at his listening wifes desire
To eke afresh the blazing fire
Wi sharp bill cuts the hazel bands
Then sets him down to warm his hands
And tell in labours happy way
His story of the passing day
While as the warm blaze cracks and gleams
The supper reeks in savoury steams
Or keetle simmers merrily
And tinkling cups are set for tea
Thus doth the winters dreary day
From morn to evening wear away
Personae

Terms Defined

Referenced Works