The Sailor's Return

A poem by John Clare

The whitethorn is budding and rushes are green,
The ivy leaves rustle around the ash tree,
On the sweet sunny bank blue violets are seen,
That tremble beneath the wild hum of the bee.
The sunbeams they play on the brook's plashy ripples,
Like millions of suns in each swirl looking on;
The rush nods and bows till its tasseled head tipples
Right into the wimpled flood, kissing the stones.

'T was down in the cow pasture, just at the gloaming,
I met a young woman sweet tempered and mild,
I said "Pretty maiden, say, where are you roving?"
"I'm walking at even," she answered, and smiled.
"Here my sweetheart and I gathered posies at even;
It's eight years ago since they sent him to sea.
Wild flowers hung with dew are like angels from heaven:
They look up in my face and keep whispering to me.

They whisper the tales that were told by my true love;
In the evening and morning they glisten with dew;
They say (bonny blossoms) 'I'll ne'er get a new love;
I love her; she's kindly.' I say, 'I love him too.'"
The passing-by stranger's a stranger no longer;
He kissed off the teardrop which fell from her e'e;
With blue-jacket and trousers he is bigger and stronger;
'T is her own constant Willy returned from the sea.

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