Watching the mice that squeaks below

The Shepherds Calendar – January

Winters Day

He shakes his head and still proceeds
Neer doubting once of what he reads
All wonders are wi faith supplyd
Bible at once and weather guide
Puffing the while his red tipt pipe
Dreaming oer troubles nearly ripe
Yet not quite lost in profits way
He’ll turn to next years harvest day
And winters leisure to regale
Hopes better times and sips his ale
While labour still pursues his way
And braves the tempest as he may
The thresher first thro darkness deep
Awakes the mornings winter sleep
Scaring the owlet from her prey
Long before she dreams of day
That blinks above head on the snow
Watching the mice that squeaks below
And foddering boys sojourn again
By ryhme hung hedge and frozen plain
Shuffling thro the sinking snows
Blowing his fingers as he goes
To where the stock in bellowings hoarse
Call for their meals in dreary close
And print full many a hungry track
Round circling hedge that guards the stack
Wi higgling tug he cuts the hay
And bares the forkfull loads away
And morn and evening daily throws
The little heaps upon the snows
The shepherd too in great coat wrapt
And straw bands round his stockings lapt
Wi plodding dog that sheltering steals
To shun the wind behind his heels
Takes rough and smooth the winter weather
And paces thro the snow together
While in the fields the lonly plough
Enjoys its frozen sabbath now
And horses too pass time away
In leisures hungry holiday
Rubbing and lunging round the yard
Dreaming no doubt of summer sward
As near wi idle pace they draw
To brouze the upheapd cribs of straw

John Clare

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