The Peasant Poet - John Clare - a shapeshifter
rooted in his own soil, inflections guttural & natural,
his concerns personal (not those of a community)
taken to High Society London as a curio, cadaver
of Dick Whittington in the belljar of class difference.
Was to be exhibited like this to be exploited
when he took the print runs, advances, hopes
of a lifelong readership before the fad ran dry?
Did he have a choice with nine mouths to feed?
Did he own this marketing, printing leaves on madness?
The alternative was to be left as he was, in the fields,
punctuating wild as the gadfly & never to be head of.


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