Friday, 13 November 2009



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.

Today, after a morning of grey, dark skies and torrential rain, there was an hour of brief reprieve before the west wind blew more showers in from the sea. Old Dog and I splashed out into the lanes while we could.

Runoff from the moor brings peat stained water bubbling into leaf strewn ditches.

A silver birch , hanging with rain jewels against a grey sky.

Wet leaves of next spring`s foxgloves shine beneath the rich rust of rain soaked bracken.

Tonight, the wind is rising and rain pours off roof tiles and overflows the gutters. Severe weather warnings are in force and down by the sea, in the harbour at Christchurch, the high sea floods are threatening to overwhelm low lying houses by the shore.


Bovey Belle said...

What a lovely poem - John Clare was such a countryman wasn't he? Not a lot passed him by. Very much the same here too. Gosh, but it was wild yesterday and last night. It made me very glad to be tucked up in my warm bed last night! We had a flash-flood the previous day too after that torrential rain, but the wind has now dropped and it's currently dry, so I am hopeful of a walk at some point today.

Dartford Warbler said...

Very wild here this morning BB. I expect your little river will be a torrent again. Take care!

Morning's Minion said...

There is something a bit exhilerating about venturing outside during a lull in bad weather--provided one has good boots, wooly socks and a wetproof coat. It is also nice to get safely back to the warm, dry house and put the kettle on.
I particularly like your photo of the foxglove leaves, green under the braken.