John Clare

Little Dotty Poet
Little dotty poet went sadly insane
His years in the asylum couldn't make him well again.
He wrote some pretty poems; his renown, though, isn't high,
So little dotty poet, I'll bid you a goodbye.

John Clare (1793-1864) was born in Helpston near Peterborough, and lived for some years in the nearby village of Northborough. Unfortunately, he spent rather longer in lunatic asylums. He wrote mainly nature poems, including Little Trotty Wagtail. He is regarded as an important poet, but I find it hard to grasp this, having been born in Northborough myself. One day I shall appreciate him more, and write a better parody.

Later: I discovered a book of his called Northborough Sonnets. Obviously I had to have a copy. Sure enough, I really am starting to appreciate him more. Incidentally, a lot of the words I grew up with are there in the glossary - in many cases the first time I have ever seen them in print. "Keck", for instance - the local word for the plant known elsewhere as "cow parsley".

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Bob Newman 2004. All rights reserved.

This page last updated 10/03/2006