Looking at two of John Clares' poems.

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John Clare was an English poet who lived mostly in rural Northamptonshire from 1793 to 1864. He is now regarded as the most important English poet of the natural world, but he also wrote many poems, essays and letters about love, politics, sex, poetry, corruption, environmental and social change, poverty and folk life.

I have decided to cover two of his poems.

To Mary

The first thing that strikes me about this poem is the title. It suggests this poem is aimed especially at someone, maybe a girlfriend of the author’s simply because it says “to” someone.

        In the opening 3 lines the word thee is used 3 times. This repetition emphasises that everything this person does is with “thee”, this Mary character.

        “I sleep with thee. And wake with thee, and yet thou art not there” is very dramatic. It made me feel sorry or guilty for him because he clearly loves her so much, and in his mind he does everything with her (sleeps and wakes) yet he can’t touch her because she simply isn’t there.

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        Moving down to line seven, we see the first use of alliteration; “touching thine.” Other alliteration occurs in line 13, “world’s wide.”

        I came across a rhyming pattern whilst analysing the poem as well. It often appears at the end of the 1st and 3rd lines in a sequence of 2 lines. Examples of this are:

-mine, thine

-sight, night,

-there, air

-rest, breast

        There are also similes. The most striking being when he describes memory as being like love in a “woman’s breast.”

        In the 14th line, it uses think and speak. This is the case in line 9 as well. Not ...

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