John Clare: I’ve always been moved by John Clare’s story. By all accounts he was only five feet tall, so… considered freakish. Perhaps due to this, he felt a singular affinity with… the outcasts and the unloved… the ugly animals… the broken things.
“I am yet what I am none care or knows. My friends forsake me like a memory lost. I am a self-consumer of my woes. They rise and vanish in oblivious host, like shadows in love’s frenzied stifled throes. And yet I am, and live like vapors tossed…”
Vanessa Ives: “I long for scenes where man hath never trout. A place where woman has never smiled or wept. There to abide with my creator, God. And sleep as I in childhood sweetly slept. Untroubling and untroubled where I lie. The grass below, above the vaulted sky.”
John Clare: [Love is] The kind touch of a hand.
Vanessa Ives: I saw it earlier. I was having coffee with a friend. He’s in love with someone, though I don’t know if he knows it. But… she touched his hand. And his face… something I had never seen before. A kind of peace, anyway.
John Clare: The cruelest kind. It’s lethal, that touch… for it leaves your heart at the mercy of another. You’re so unprotected.
Vanessa Ives: We’re all awkward in love. Mine has always gone awry. When I have opened myself to it in the past, it’s left me… damaged. The consequences are too grave.
John Clare: And what is our recompense? We who cannot cast out boats on that sea.
Vanessa Ives: And how are we to navigate the waters when they are so alien?
John Clare: I’ve… met a woman recently, in fact. But I don’t know how to behave.
Vanessa Ives: As yourself.
John Clare: Or as anything but. I’m so maladroit Miss Ives. I can speak poetry to the end of days, but… I cannot take her hand in this hand, so… pale and ugly. All the stratagems of the battle are unknown to me. When to laugh… how to laugh. How to stand and sit and bow and dance.