“First Love” by John Clare

To mark our 20th wedding anniversary we held a hand-fasting ceremony in a local orchard.

As I hoped, it was also the perfect setting for me to share this poem by this one of my favourite authors.  

Dean

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I ne’er was struck before that hour

   With love so sudden and so sweet,

Her face it bloomed like a sweet flower

   And stole my heart away complete.

My face turned pale as deadly pale,

   My legs refused to walk away,

And when she looked, what could I ail?

   My life and all seemed turned to clay.

*

And then my blood rushed to my face

   And took my eyesight quite away,

The trees and bushes round the place

   Seemed midnight at noonday.

I could not see a single thing,

   Words from my eyes did start—

They spoke as chords do from the string,

   And blood burnt round my heart.

*

Are flowers the winter’s choice?

   Is love’s bed always snow?

She seemed to hear my silent voice,

   Not love’s appeals to know.

I never saw so sweet a face

   As that I stood before.

My heart has left its dwelling-place

   And can return no more.

John Clare

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Dean and Jo celebrating anniversary with a traditional hand-fasting.
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