Sitting reading with a fizmer in my ears
happy underneath a bending oaken tree
with the words of a story to amuse me
as the sunny spring day passes me by
fizmer – n., rustling noise produced in grass by petty agitations of the wind. Fizmer is a fabulously onomatopoeic wind word, and therefore kindred with better-known terms such as susurrus. John Clare relished words concerning the sounds of air, and sounds travelling through air, and his poetry includes references to suthering (a heavy sighing or rushing sound) and crizzling (the action of frost forming on water: “And the white frost gins crizzle pond and brook”). Fizmer also puts me in mind of zwer, a wonderful Exmoor term for the sound a covey of partridges makes when taking flight.