This Easter will faith, hope, and charity translate into greater compassion for migrants and refugees worldwide?
The genius of the English poet John Clare lay in his ability to observe himself and nature and relate them directly to the human condition. One of his best known poems begins:
“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…”
Despite the enormous success of his first published poems, Clare became unfashionable and fell into literary obscurity. His poetic insights were not fully appreciated until the 20th century when the first complete edition of his poetry was published. Much of it had lain forgotten in manuscript archives for over 100 years.
Clare suffered from severe bouts of depression and delusion, spending most of the last 26 years of his life in an asylum for the insane. He left instructions that nothing should be written on his gravestone except “Here Rest the Hope and Ashes of John Clare”. When he died in 1864, his wish was ignored.
Clare’s poem “The Instinct of Hope” speaks of resilience and endurance in the face of his own hell on earth and – 150 years later – reflects the trauma facing thousands of men, women, and children – migrants and refugees – this Easter.
“Is there another world for this frail dust
To warm with life and be itself again?
Something about me daily speaks there must,
And why should instinct nourish hopes in vain?
’Tis nature’s prophesy that such will be,
And everything seems struggling to explain
The close sealed volume of its mystery.
Time wandering onward keeps its usual pace
As seeming anxious of eternity,
To meet that calm and find a resting place.
E’en the small violet feels a future power
And waits each year renewing blooms to bring,
And surely man is no inferior flower
To die unworthy of a second spring?”