Haymaking, by John Clare

For my friend, who cuts hay!


Tis haytime and the red-complexioned sun

Was scarcely up ere blackbirds had begun

Along the meadow hedges here and there

To sing loud songs to the sweet-smelling air

Where breath of flowers and grass and happy cow

Fling o’er one’s senses streams of fragrance now

while in some pleasant nook the swain and maid

Lean o’er their rakes and loiter in the shade

Or bend a minute o’er the bridge and throw

Crumbs in their leisure to the fish below

—Hark at that happy shout—and song between

‘Tis pleasure’s birthday in her meadow scene.

What joy seems half so rich from pleasure won

As the loud laugh of maidens in the sun?

– John Clare


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