Round Oak and Eastwell

All that is left of Eastwell Spring in 2016

In my own native field two fountains run
All desolate and naked to the sun;
The fell destroyer's hand hath reft their side
Of every tree that hid and beautified
Their shallow waters in delightful clumps,
That sunburnt now o'er pebbles skips and jumps.

One where stone quarries in its hills are broke
Still keeps its ancient pastoral name, Round Oak,
Although one little solitary tree
Is all that's left of its old pedigree.

The other, more deformed, creeps down the dell,
Scarcely the shade of what was once Eastwell,
While the elm-groves that groaned beneath no tax
Have paid their tribute to the lawless axe,
And the old rooks that waited other springs
Have fled to stranger scenes on startled wings.

The place all lonely and all naked lies,
And Eastwell spring in change's symphonies
Boils up its sand unnoticed and alone,
To all its former happiness unknown.

Its glory gone, its Sunday pastimes o'er,
The haunts of shepherds and of maids no more.
The passer-by unheeding tramples on
Nor heeds the spring, nor trees nor bushes gone,
While the stray poet's memory haunts the spot
Like a friend's features time hath nigh forgot.

The Poems of John Clare, ed. J. W. Tibble
(2 volumes, Dent, 1935)

No comments: