To bring in the year of 2017 I have gone back two hundred years to John Clare’s time (1793 – 1864) – he was an English poet, the son of a farm labourer …
… who came to be known for his celebratory representations of the English countryside, but with his lamentation of its disruption.
The poem provides a calendar of the country year, in which the various tasks performed by the farm labourer take their appropriate place: ploughing in February, lambing in March, and hay-making in June. This has changed I think ... as we plant winter wheat and frost hardy varieties ... so we plough in the Autumn and in the Spring.
|Helpston sign outside Clare Cottage|
The countryman’s year is also punctuated by celebrations and festivals, such as May Day games, sheep-shearing feasts, Harvest Home and Christmas.
Rooted in popular culture, the poem has many vivid descriptions of the flowers, birds, and beasts of the hedgerow and field, in the first half of the 1800s.
|John Clare's birthplace: Helpston,|
six miles north of Peterborough
|Only known photo (1862) of|
Withering and keen the Winter comes,
The snow has left the cottage top;
the thatch-moss grows in brighter green …
March, month of ‘many weathers,’ wildly comes
In hail, and snow, and rain, and threatening hums …
Now infant April joins the Spring,
And views the watery sky,
Come, Queen of Months! In company
With all thy merry minstrelsy:-
Now Summer is in flower, and Nature’s hum
Is never silent round her bounteous bloom;
July, the month of Summer’s prime,
Again resumes his busy time;
Harvest approaches with its busy day;
The wheat tans brown, and barley bleaches grey;
Harvest awakes the morning still,
And toil’s rude groups the valleys fill;
Nature now spreads around, in dreary hue,
A pall to cover all that summer knew;
The landscape sleeps in mist from morn til noon;
Glad Christmas comes, and every hearth
Makes room to give him welcome now,
Here's the link to the John Clare Shepherd's Calendar poem ...
I've also mentioned him in another post about haymaking ... a typical day at that time ...
Welcome to us all for 2017 ... I for one need a change up ... so here's to a very happy, blessed, peaceful year full of goodwill ...
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