Emmonsails Heath in Winter

I love to see the old heaths withered brake
mingle its crimpled leaves with furze and ling
while the old heron from the lonely lake
starts slow and flaps its melancholy wing
an oddling crow in idle motion swing
on the half-rotten ash-trees topmost twig
beside whose trunk the gypsy makes his bed
up flies the bouncing woodcock from the brig
where a black quagmire quakes beneath the tread
the fieldfares chatter in the whistling thorn
and for the haw round fields and closen rove
and coy bumbarrel twenty in a drove
flit down the hedgerows in the frozen plain
and hang on little twigs and start again

John Clare


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