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.