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The mystery of John Clare
on 22 January 2011
This is a great book of around one hundred and fifty poems. There are notes and text about both the life of Clare and his poems, distributed throughout the pages of the book. Asterisks in the text point to a large collection of notes at the end of the poetry.
His poems range from beautiful observation of minute natural detail through the range of experience, as apart of his development in life. He died in Northampton Lunatic Assylum. The poems at the end of the collection show that development and some are almost unbearably sad,an example being 'Song' on page 356
'My old lover left me I knew not for why'
It is written from a female point of view. Does it reflect his break from Mary? but from her point of view. The fact that he never recovered from that separation is evident in the poems.
There is also an unanswered question:-
Clare was born into a poor agricultural Life. His parents barely literate. Agricultural wages were very low; how did he acqurire the funds to develop such reading expertise by age thirteen?
A final twist in his puzzle is the last poem entitled 'To John Clare', but, 'to which John Clare?' you will ask.