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.