By Zoe Pollock
Another from the wondrous Atlantic Archives, here's "I Am" by John Clare:
I amyet 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 oblivion's host,
Like shadows in love's frenzied stifled throes
And yet I am, and livelike vapours tost
Into the nothingness of scorn and noise,
…Into the living sea of waking dreams,
Where there is neither sense of life or joys,
…But the vast shipwreck of my life's esteems;
And e'en the dearest, that I love the best,
Are strangenay, rather stranger than the rest.
I long for scenes, where man hath 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 belowabove the vaulted sky.
Background on Clare and audio of poets, professors and the Atlantic's own poetry editor David Barber reading Clare's work can be found here.