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Lines: “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-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;
And e’en the dearest that I loved the best
Are strange — nay, rather, stranger than the rest.

I long for scenes where man hath ne’er trod;
A place where woman never smil’d 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 (1793 – 1864), English poet.