Spring is Not our Mating Season

7 Feb 2023 | Grace of God | 0 comments

I will not kiss you, country fashion,

By hedgesides where

Weasel and hare

Claim kinship with our passion….


This bare clay-pit is truest setting

For love like ours:

No bed of flowers

But sand-ledge for our petting.


The Spring is not our mating season:

The lift of sap

Would but entrap

Our souls and lead to treason.


This truculent gale, this pang of winter

Awake our joy,

For they employ

Moods that made Calvary splinter….


We cannot fuse with fallen Nature’s

Our rhythmic tide:

It is allied

With laws beyond the creatures.


It draws from older, sterner oceans

Its sensuous swell:

Too near to Hell

Are we for earthly motions.


Our love is full-grown Dogma’s offspring,

Election’s child,

Making the wild

Heats of our blood an offering.


Jack Clemo (1916-94), A Calvinist in Love



Notes from the Compiler

Jack Clemo,'The Map of Clay', London, Methuen, 1961. A Cornish poet, son of a clay-pit worker, he was deaf when he was twenty and blind from 1955. Like John Donne (1572-1633) and D.H. Lawrence (1885-1930) he found religion related to the human sexual urge. The fact that he was a committed Calvinist and Nonconformist Christian meant that he pictured his faith, like his loving, illustrated and bursting out in the bleak background of a Cornish clay-pit. Moreover, he saw his own physical afflictions as a test of his evangelical convictions, which could not be shaken.


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