sed30's Blog

Railways & other things

Edward Thomas – Adlestrop

Today, 9 April, is the 100th anniversary of the death of Edward Thomas, who was killed in action on the first day of the Battle of Arras in 1917. 

Adlestrop – the title of his most famous poem.

Adlestrop, was written on 24 June 1914 when Edward Thomas was travelling from Paddington to Ledbury and the train paused unexpectedly at the station in the Cotswolds. 

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. 

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