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I Am

  • I am — yet what I am, none cares or knows;
  • My friends forsake me like a memory lost:
  • I am the self-consumer of my woes; —
  • They rise and vanish in oblivion’s host,
  • Like shadows in love’s frenzied stifled throes: —
  • And yet I am, and live — like vapours tossed
  • Into the nothingness of scorn and noise,
  • Into the living sea of waking dreams,
  • Where there is neither sense of life or joys,
  • But the vast shipwreck of my life’s esteems;
  • Even the dearest, that I love the best
  • Are strange — nay, rather stranger than the rest.
  • I long for scenes, where man hath never trod
  • A place where woman never smiled or wept
  • There to abide with my Creator, God;
  • And sleep as I in childhood, sweetly slept,
  • Untroubling, and untroubled where I lie,
  • The grass below — above the vaulted sky.

John Clare (July 13, 1793–May 20, 1864), whose poems of rural life and the natural countryside of England made him well known, was the son of a farm laborer. Married and with six children, he was impoverished all his life and his mental health disintegrated as he grew older. He had bouts of severe depression and as his alcohol consumption increased he became increasingly delusional. Clare spent several years at a private asylum and, after escaping, was eventually committed to a Northampton mental hospital where he spent the rest of his life. It was there that Clare wrote what is perhaps his most famous poem, “I Am.” Though long thought of as a minor 19th-century British poet, his reputation has grown considerably and he is now included among the major poetic figures of his age.

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  • I am — yet what I am, none cares or knows;
  • My friends forsake me like a memory lost:
  • I am the self-consumer of my woes; —
  • They rise and vanish in oblivion’s host,
  • Like shadows in love’s frenzied stifled throes: —
  • And yet I am, and live — like vapours tossed
  • Into the nothingness of scorn and noise,
  • Into the living sea of waking dreams,
  • Where there is neither sense of life or joys,
  • But the vast shipwreck of my life’s esteems;
  • Even the dearest, that I love the best
  • Are strange — nay, rather stranger than the rest.
  • I long for scenes, where man hath never trod
  • A place where woman never smiled or wept
  • There to abide with my Creator, God;
  • And sleep as I in childhood, sweetly slept,
  • Untroubling, and untroubled where I lie,
  • The grass below — above the vaulted sky.

John Clare (July 13, 1793–May 20, 1864), whose poems of rural life and the natural countryside of England made him well known, was the son of a farm laborer. Married and with six children, he was impoverished all his life and his mental health disintegrated as he grew older. He had bouts of severe depression and as his alcohol consumption increased he became increasingly delusional. Clare spent several years at a private asylum and, after escaping, was eventually committed to a Northampton mental hospital where he spent the rest of his life. It was there that Clare wrote what is perhaps his most famous poem, “I Am.” Though long thought of as a minor 19th-century British poet, his reputation has grown considerably and he is now included among the major poetic figures of his age.

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4S Ranch Allied Gardens Alpine Baja Balboa Park Bankers Hill Barrio Logan Bay Ho Bay Park Black Mountain Ranch Blossom Valley Bonita Bonsall Borrego Springs Boulevard Campo Cardiff-by-the-Sea Carlsbad Carmel Mountain Carmel Valley Chollas View Chula Vista City College City Heights Clairemont College Area Coronado CSU San Marcos Cuyamaca College Del Cerro Del Mar Descanso Downtown San Diego Eastlake East Village El Cajon Emerald Hills Encanto Encinitas Escondido Fallbrook Fletcher Hills Golden Hill Grant Hill Grantville Grossmont College Guatay Harbor Island Hillcrest Imperial Beach Imperial Valley Jacumba Jamacha-Lomita Jamul Julian Kearny Mesa Kensington La Jolla Lakeside La Mesa Lemon Grove Leucadia Liberty Station Lincoln Acres Lincoln Park Linda Vista Little Italy Logan Heights Mesa College Midway District MiraCosta College Miramar Miramar College Mira Mesa Mission Beach Mission Hills Mission Valley Mountain View Mount Hope Mount Laguna National City Nestor Normal Heights North Park Oak Park Ocean Beach Oceanside Old Town Otay Mesa Pacific Beach Pala Palomar College Palomar Mountain Paradise Hills Pauma Valley Pine Valley Point Loma Point Loma Nazarene Potrero Poway Rainbow Ramona Rancho Bernardo Rancho Penasquitos Rancho San Diego Rancho Santa Fe Rolando San Carlos San Marcos San Onofre Santa Ysabel Santee San Ysidro Scripps Ranch SDSU Serra Mesa Shelltown Shelter Island Sherman Heights Skyline Solana Beach Sorrento Valley Southcrest South Park Southwestern College Spring Valley Stockton Talmadge Temecula Tierrasanta Tijuana UCSD University City University Heights USD Valencia Park Valley Center Vista Warner Springs
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