Sunday, May 10, 2009

Sunday sonnet: John Clare

Here is another sonnet in blank verse, though it does not seem to exhibit the proposition/resolution structure that is characteristic of the verse form (unless the shift of the focus from people to the dog in the ninth line qualifies as the "turn"). Or perhaps this work, written between 1837 and 1841, is nothing more than a fourteen-line poem.


The snow falls deep; the forest lies alone;
The boy goes hasty for his load of brakes,
Then thinks upon the fire and hurries back;
The gypsy knocks his hands and tucks them up,
And seeks his squalid camp, half hid in snow,
Beneath the oak which breaks away the wind,
And bushes close in snow like hovel warm;
There tainted mutton wastes upon the coals,
And the half-wasted dog squats close and rubs,
Then feels the heat too strong, and goes aloof;
He watches well, but none a bit can spare,
And vainly waits the morsel thrown away.
'Tis thus they live--a picture to the place,
A quiet, pilfering, unprotected race.

Rhyme scheme: blank verse, or unrhymed iambic pentameter.

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