2 September 2004 | Vol. 4, No. 3

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.

About the author:

1793-1864. John Clare's first book, Poems Descriptive of Rural Life, appeared to great critical acclaim in 1820. His following three books, however, were met with diminishing enthusiasm. In 1837, he was confined to Northampton General Lunatic Asylum, where he was free to wander the countryside and compose poetry until his death twenty-seven years later. Learn more about John Clare at Wikipedia.

For further reading:

See the complete list of work by John Clare at 42opus. Browse the contents of 42opus Vol. 4, No. 3, where "I Am" ran on September 2, 2004. List other work with these same labels: poetry, classic, rhyme.

42opus is an online magazine of the literary arts.

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