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.