The maiden ran away to fetch the clothes
And threw her apron o`e r her cap and bows;
But the shower catched her ere she hurried in
And beat and almost dowsed her to the skin.
The ruts ran brooks as they would ne`er be dry,
And the boy waded as he hurried by;
The half-drowned ploughman waded to the knees,
And birds were almost drowned upon the trees.
The streets ran rivers till they floated o`er,
And women screamed to meet it at the door.
Labour fled home and rivers hurried by,
And still it fell as it would never stop;
E`en the old stone pit,deep as house is high,
Was brimming o`er and floated o`er the top.
John Clare (1793 -1860)
When I found this poem again today, it seemed to show the timelessness of our responses to harsh, wet weather. The young maid , soaked to the skin as she runs outside to save the washing from sudden rain. The ploughman and the boy wading through the flood as "The streets ran rivers till they floated o`er". In the Forest lanes, when rain pours down as it has today, it seems that little has changed since the days when John Clare walked the muddied ways of his native Northamptonshire countryside.