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In this installment, Anne Marie Macari reads “I Am!” by John Clare. Macari's first book, Ivory Cradle, won the APR first book prize in 2000. Her second book, Gloryland, was published by Alice James Books in 2005. Her poems have appeared widely in literary magazines and, in 2005, she won the James Dickey Award for poetry from Five Points magazine.
John Clare, "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 oblivious host,
Like shadows in love’s 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;
Even the dearest that I loved the best
Are strange—nay, rather, stranger than the rest.
I long for scenes where man hath never trod
A place where woman never smiled 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.