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john davies
notes from a small vicar
from a parish
in Liverpool, UK

    Saturday, September 30, 2006
    Born not mad
    Paul blogged on his wedding day today. Some might call that dedication. Quite a few other Greenbelt bloggers were there, in Helpston, to celebrate the day with he and Emma.

    Later, at the reception each of us received a stone, with our name on, a reminder of the very creative way in which Paul proposed.

    When I said grace I felt I had to drop in a few words from John Clare, pauper poet of Helpston, whose pilgrimage I made today in the hour before the wedding: a look at the plaque on the wall of the house where Clare lived, a wander around the village memorial, a drink in The Exeter, where his body lay the evening before his burial, and a photo taken (thanks Martin) by his simple gravestone.

    Iain Sinclair reckons that Clare's wish was for his epitaph to read, 'HERE Rest the HOPES & Ashes of JOHN CLARE'. And notes that Helpston wouldn't have that. Instead the stone in a sunkissed corner of Helpston churchyard reads, A POET IS BORN NOT MADE. Though weather and lichen have combined to almost obliterate the final 'E'. Just one satisfying detail of a nicely satisfying day.

    [More in Pic of the month]