Noon

THE mid-day hour of twelve the clock counts o’er
A sultry stillness lulls the air asleep
The very buzz of flies is heard no more
Nor faintest wrinkles o’er the waters creep
Like one large sheet of glass the waters shine
Reflecting on their face the burnt sunbeam
The very fish their sporting play decline
Seeking the willow-shadows ’side the stream
And, where the hawthorn branches o’er the pool
The little bird, forsaking song and nest
Flutters on dripping twigs his limbs to cool
And splashes in the stream his burning breast
O, free from thunder, for a sudden shower
To cherish nature in this noon-day hour!

The young John Clare’s Noon details no human presence, but it’s easy to image him, sitting, pen in hand by a pool, just letting his thoughts flow – even though the water does not.  This is a hot summer day poem: far too warm to be bothered with punctuation.  How a summer day ought to be: sitting quietly, just a part of nature.

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I wish I could remember …

I wish I could remember the first day,
First hour, first moment of your meeting me;
If bright or dim the season, it might be
Summer or winter for aught I can say.
So unrecorded did it slip away,
So blind was I to see and to foresee,
So dull to mark the budding of my tree
That would not blossom yet for many a May.
If only I could recollect it!  Such
A day of days!  I let it come and go
As traceless as a thaw of bygone snow.
It seemed to mean so little, meant so much!
If only now I could recall that touch,
First touch of hand in hand! – Did one but know!

This is Christina Rossetti writing about a first meeting that was to come to mean so much, using the idea of May as a transition point into life itself, and not just into summer.  Robert Browning wrote: Oh to be in England now that April’s here; but it’s May for me.  It sometimes seems madness even to think of leaving the village, let along the country.

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