In this installment, Thorpe Moeckel reads “Winter Fields” by John Clare. Moeckel’s first book of poems, Odd Botany, was published in 2002 by Silverfish Review Press, and his chapbooks include Meltlines, The Guessing Land, and Making a Map of the River. New poems and essays are forthcoming in Verse, Virginia Quarterly Review, Rivendell, and North Carolina Literary Review. He earned an MFA in 2002 at University of Virginia, where he was a Jacob K. Javits and Henry Hoyns Fellow. A former Kenan Visiting Writer at UNC-Chapel Hill, he now teaches at Hollins University.
John Clare, “Winter Fields”
Oh, for a pleasant book to cheat the sway
Of winter—where rich mirth with hearty laugh
Listens and rubs his legs on corner seat;
For fields are mire and sludge—and badly off
Are those who on their pudgy paths delay;
There striding shepherd, seeking driest way,
Fearing night’s wetshod feet and hacking cough
That keeps him waken till the peep of day,
Goes shouldering onward and with ready hook
Progs oft to ford the sloughs that nearly meet
Across the lands; croodling and thin to view,
His loath dog follows—stops and quakes and looks
For better roads, till whistled to pursue;
Then on with frequent jump he hurkles through.