19 July 2017

Adlestrop


Adlestrop

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.

By Edward Thomas (1878-1917)

- written after an unscheduled stop
at a rural railway station on June
24th 1914 - six weeks before the
outbreak of World War One.

27 comments:

  1. Rather poignant. And it put me completely in the moment that he experienced. That is what good writing will do!

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    1. The thing about this moment in time is that nothing happened.

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  2. When I saw the title of your post I intended to just write Oh Yes YP I remember it. Then I saw you had quoted the whole poem. I love it.

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    1. Part of the reason it is so poignant is that it speaks of a time of innocence before the horrors of World War One were unleashed.

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  3. Beautiful, I love poetry like this, it reminded me of Betjeman. If I am down I get out his collection and read a few, they fill me with warmth.
    Briony
    x

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    1. I can see why you made a link with Betjeman Briony.

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  4. On our wall here behind me ,we have a framed photograph of an old station platform sign for Adlestrop. It is set into a slate covered open shelter that also contains a seat, looking out onto a country lane. It was taken by the son of old friends and the poem is inset at the side of the photograph.Not sure how we ended up with it. Maybe our elderly friends gave it to us!

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    1. That sign is still in the village shelter at Adlestrop. It was moved from the station in 1966 following its closure.

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  5. One of my favourites and I happened to pick up an independent bookseller promotional post card or two last week with various poems on them of which this was one. I wrote a post entitled Adelstrop and Esso Blue in 2012.

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    1. At first I thought you said you had written a poem with that name. Quite an odd combination.

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  6. "Edward Thomas - From Adlestrop to Arras" a biography by Jean Moorcroft Wilson, is a book that I bought a couple of years ago and a terrific read.

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    1. It sounds like the kind of book I would also enjoy Derek. Thanks.

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  7. Another terrific book is "The Second I Saw You" - the true love story of Rupert Brooke and Phyllis Gardner by Lorna C. Beckett

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  8. I don't like poetry normally, but I liked that.l

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    1. I am pleased you are open-minded enough to lower the drawbridge.

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  9. Simple, yet vivid. And to think war broke out afterwards makes it even more sorrowful.

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    1. It does "feel" sorrowful doesn't it? But why do we think that way?

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  10. I've never seen the poem before but it seems to capture the moment perfectly.

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    1. Then I am proud to have drawn it to your attention Sue.

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  11. I used to have a small book of his poetry, although for some reason I did think he was welsh? maybe not, but studying the war poets at school brought him into my consciousness. My sister wrote to John Betjeman once and he wrote back...but she lost his letter.

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    1. Though he was born in Lambeth, London most of his family was indeed Welsh.

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  12. An evocative poem, YP, written in an age of innocence, never to be recovered. When I saw the title, I too, immediately thought of Betjeman. He had a great talent for writing about the inconsequential things in life.

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    1. I like poetry that harnesses mundane or ordinary experiences and things for a bigger poetic purpose.

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  13. You can really see (and hear) it all, can't you? It's like being transported to another time.

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    1. Yes. I certainly feel that way about this much loved poem.

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  14. The wonderful old steam trains...they bring back memories of my childhood. There's something romantic about them....

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    1. Thomas was on an express steam train that June day in 1914. The stop ate Adlestrop was unscheduled like many moments in life

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