Sunday Poetry – Edward Thomas


It’s 100 years ago today that Edward Thomas was killed at Arras. I’ve always admired his poetry & it’s amazing to think that he only began writing poetry in the last few years of his life, encouraged by his friendship with Robert Frost. I’ve featured his life & work on the blog many times – here, here & here –  but today, here is his most famous poem, Adlestrop.

*Edited to add – here is a link to Nick Dear’s play about Thomas, The Dark Earth and the Light Sky, which was repeated over the weekend. It should be available worldwide as I can listen to it in Australia & a friend in the US could also listen. Thank you to Barbara from Milady’s Boudoir for the link. Lynne at Dovegreyreader is also a Thomas fan & has marked the anniversary with a post here.

Yes. I remember Adlestrop—
The name, because one afternoon
Of heat the express-train drew up there
Unwontedly. It was late June.

The steam hissed. Someone cleared his throat.
No one left and no one came
On the bare platform. What I saw
Was Adlestrop—only the name

And willows, willow-herb, and grass,
And meadowsweet, and haycocks dry,
No whit less still and lonely fair
Than the high cloudlets in the sky.

And for that minute a blackbird sang
Close by, and round him, mistier,
Farther and farther, all the birds
Of Oxfordshire and Gloucestershire.


6 thoughts on “Sunday Poetry – Edward Thomas

    • Even sadder that he only started writing poetry in the last few years of his life. He’s really a pastoral poet rather than a war poet, his nature writing, both poetry & prose, is lovely.


    • I always wonder if he would have been thought of as a war poet if he hadn’t been killed. Even his war-themed poems like As the Team’s Head-Brass are really pastoral poems, the war is incidental.


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