John Clare

(13 July 1793 – 20 May 1864 / Northamptonshire / England)

I Am - Poem by John Clare

I am: yet 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 oblivious host,
Like shades in love and death's oblivion lost;
And yet I am! and live with shadows tost

Into the nothingness of scorn and noise,
Into the living sea of waking dreams,
Where there is neither sense of life nor joys,
But the vast shipwreck of my life's esteems;
And e'en the dearest--that I loved the best--
Are strange--nay, rather stranger than the rest.

I long for scenes where man has 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 below--above the vaulted sky.


Comments about I Am by John Clare

  • Fabrizio Frosini Fabrizio Frosini (5/2/2016 5:58:00 AM)

    In their edition of Clare’s poems, Robinson and Powell report that “the nature of Clare’s illness has never satisfactorily been established. There seem to have been epileptiform incidents in his early life, experiences during his visits to London which suggest a shaky hold upon reality, confusion about his relationship to Mary Joyce, nightmares, some bouts of heavy drinking, and the suggestion, by Clare himself, that he might have been venereally infected.[..] The account of Clare’s escape from High Beach [the asylum where he was first confined] is a strange mixture of dream-world, literary reminiscence, and realistic reporting. There are the first recorded signs that Clare is not sure of his own identity. Is he Robinson Crusoe, Gulliver, Queen Victoria’s father, or just a battered piece of flotsam? Clare himself is not sure.” (Report) Reply

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  • Fabrizio Frosini Fabrizio Frosini (5/2/2016 5:57:00 AM)

    And sleep as I in childhood sweetly slept:
    Untroubling and untroubled where I lie;
    The grass below- above the vaulted sky.

    - In ITALIAN:

    E dormire sonni lievi come nell'infanzia:
    Senza preoccupazioni e sereno dove giaccio;
    L'erba sotto di me - e sopra, la volta del cielo. (Report) Reply

  • Zoe Byrne (4/16/2016 10:14:00 AM)

    Eniquivically beautiful sad dark and my absolute favourite poem of all time - well done Mr. John Clare and RIP. Thank you for creating something that has touched me beyond the words. Amazing! ZJByrne (Report) Reply

  • Shahin Latif Shahin Latif (11/23/2015 1:34:00 PM)

    Great penned! I love this poem. I read it more & more. So, regards to John Clare. (Report) Reply

  • Colleen Donaldson (10/7/2015 9:16:00 PM)

    I had never heard of this until I watched Penny Dreadful and had heard a portion of it recited on an episode. I fell in love with this poem. Beautiful words with such deep feeling that one can feel in the depths of your soul. (Report) Reply

    Anish Debnath Anish Debnath (10/14/2015 7:05:00 AM)

    This is the same case for me also.I also heard it first from penny dreadful.After that I read it too many times.He had expressed the deepest feelings of his heart by such lovely and exact words.It is wonderful.

  • Tricia Hamill Tricia Hamill (9/23/2015 12:18:00 AM)

    I adore this poem by John Clare. He was a beautiful writer of words and a deep feeling soul that did not get much recognition in the late 19th Century. This is probably the best known poem of his. Oh, how I wish these like minded souls were recognized while they were living. So many became famous for their writing after they were long gone. Perhaps that is the curse of the true, lost soul poets who feel deeper than most humans and can turn words into music on paper. I love this poem and here's to John Clare! [3 May he be looking down at us as we truly appreciate this gorgeous poem. (P.S. I was so happy to hear them use it recently in an episode of Penny Dreadful on Showtime. I was surprised and so happy!) God Bless you John Clare.. your have touched my heart and soul with this one! Trish, NYC (Report) Reply

  • John S John S (9/13/2015 12:51:00 PM)

    I can feel the pain and anguish John feels through this well-written poem. His despair is almost palpable and this poem is an excellent conveyor of Johns feelings. We all know how dreadful those insane asylums were back then. (Report) Reply

  • Dylan Fadden Dylan Fadden (8/13/2015 6:07:00 PM)

    i found it was a very nice poem. well done (Report) Reply

  • Nicole Alston (8/6/2015 5:07:00 PM)

    last verse quoted on Show Time's Penny Dreadful season finale (Report) Reply

  • val Rogers val Rogers (8/5/2015 11:12:00 AM)

    Great poem. I enjoyed it. Guaranteed to cause DREAMS. (Report) Reply

  • Crystal Pierce Crystal Pierce (3/24/2015 9:00:00 PM)

    beautiful poem. I loved it. (Report) Reply

  • John Richter (2/6/2015 11:48:00 AM)

    Releasing stress..... I guess it's not just the modern highways that bother the @#$% out of us! (Report) Reply

  • Nathan Beery (12/10/2014 7:29:00 PM)

    beautiful poem about one's self and nature. (Report) Reply

  • Dean Meredith Dean Meredith (12/10/2014 8:05:00 AM)

    I think 'superb' is the required word to describe this. I love it. (Report) Reply

  • Dean Meredith Dean Meredith (12/10/2014 8:05:00 AM)

    I think 'superb' is the required word to describe this. I love it. (Report) Reply

  • Sossi Khachadourian Sossi Khachadourian (12/10/2014 3:59:00 AM)

    I long for scenes where man has 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 below- above the vaulted sky. (Report) Reply

  • Sossi Khachadourian Sossi Khachadourian (12/10/2014 3:59:00 AM)

    I long for scenes where man has 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 below- above the vaulted sky. (Report) Reply

  • Aftab Alam Khursheed Aftab Alam Khursheed (12/10/2014 2:16:00 AM)

    a lovely poem fantastic thank you (Report) Reply

  • Elizabeth Padillo Olesen Elizabeth Padillo Olesen (12/10/2014 1:28:00 AM)

    Very good. It is good that Poem Hunter has also the famous poets from whom the new writers can learn from. There is eloquence and unity in this kind of poem by John Clare. This is the first poem I've ever read from him. (Report) Reply

  • Elizabeth Padillo Olesen Elizabeth Padillo Olesen (12/10/2014 1:28:00 AM)

    Very good. It is good that Poem Hunter has also the famous poets from whom the new writers can learn from. There is eloquence and unity in this kind of poem by John Clare. This is the first poem I've ever read from him. (Report) Reply

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Read poems about / on: childhood, memory, lost, woman, sleep, sea, sky, death, god, life, joy, women, rose, dream, friend



Poem Submitted: Friday, January 3, 2003



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