Thursday, April 19, 2012

The Instinct Of Hope (John Clare)

Is there another world for this frail dust
To warm with life and be itself again?
Something about me daily speaks there must,
And why should instinct nourish hopes in vain?
'Tis nature's prophesy that such will be,
And everything seems struggling to explain
The close sealed volume of its mystery.
Time wandering onward keeps its usual pace
As seeming anxious of eternity,
To meet that calm and find a resting place.
E'en the small violet feels a future power
And waits each year renewing blooms to bring,
And surely man is no inferior flower
To die unworthy of a second spring?



  1. After reading this wonderful poem, I was reminded of something Dolores Hart said in the HBO documentary about her life in the Benedictine Abbey, God is Bigger Than Elvis. “My role is to help a person discover you can always find hope and if you can find hope you might find faith.” Faith that there will be at least a second spring. You are worthy.

  2. I'm glad you liked this. My "selected" Clare volume is missing, so I couldn't double-check all the sources, but I believe this must have been one of the uncollected (unpublished during his lifetime) "asylum" manuscripts that were eventually published over a long period of time after Clare's life. This one, I'm guessing, comes from Arthur Symons' 1908 edition, which can be found online:


    The poem has been (again, you can see this on the internet) popular. Clare's amazing.


  3. Curtis, let us hope that in Clare's eternal resting place there is perfect peace -- and no boiling sun eruption!

  4. Yes, well hope springs eternal around here. I'm choosing to see the boiling sun eruption as a "glass half-full" image. Curtis