In this installment, Alexander Long reads “To John Clare” by John Clare. Long's first two books are Vigil (New Issues Poetry & Prose, 2006) and Light Here, Light There (C & R Press, 2009). With Christopher Buckley, he is co-editor of A Condition of the Spirit: The Life & Work of Larry Levis (Eastern Washington University Press, 2004). His work has appeared or is forthcoming in AGNI, The American Poetry Review, American Writers, Blackbird, Callaloo, and The Southern Review, among others. An assistant professor of English at John Jay College, Long also plays bass and writes songs with the band Redhead Betty Takeout.
John Clare, "To John Clare"
Well, honest John, how fare you now at home?
The spring is come, and birds are building nests;
The old cock-robin to the sty is come,
With olive feathers and its ruddy breast;
And the old cock, with wattles and red comb,
Struts with the hens, and seems to like some best,
Then crows, and looks about for little crumbs,
Swept out by little folks an hour ago;
The pigs sleep in the sty; the bookman comes-
The little boys lets home-closing nesting go,
And pockets tops and taws, where daisies bloom,
To look at the new number just laid down,
With lots of pictures, and good stories too,
And Jack the Giant-killer's high renown.