I tried to upload this on Tuesday, but the blog appeared to be having some technical issues. My apologies for the delay.
The relationship to nature and poetry depicted in John Clare’s work, especially in pieces like “Pastoral Poesy,” appears to revolve more around the accessibility of writing and how it is able to inspire greater life than it is about any individual relationship to nature. His connections to nature and spirituality appear simpler compared to some of the highly personal relationships we’ve seen depicted in poems like “Lines Composed a Few Miles Above Tintern Abbey” and “Mont Blanc.” In a lot of the canonical writing about nature, I notice an emphasis on the unimaginable power of the natural world, often irrelevant from how humans interact with it. Clare’s poetry, however, seems to revolve around our ability to share, appreciate, and become inspired by such simple acts of nature. At the beginning of “Pastoral Poesy,” Clare writes,
“A language that is ever green,
That feelings unto all impart,
As hawthorn blossoms, soon as seen,
Give May to every heart.”
In these lines, Clare expresses that the beauty of poetry relies on its ability to be shared with all. Clare’s motivation to create poetry goes hand in hand with a motivation to effect as great an audience as possible with his writing. Unlike many of the other authors we have read who require some prerequisite understanding in order to fully engage with their work, Clare’s writing represents poetry for the masses – intentionally simple, unfiltered, and engaging to a greater audience of nature lovers that are not necessarily familiar with canonical contexts.