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Adlestrop

Rating: 3.5
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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COMMENTS
Christine Robbie 16 October 2019
I am now 83 and have just come across the Poem about Adlestrop: I must visit Adlestrop one day, I love the poem.
1 0 Reply
naida 03 June 2018
I do not know English well, but i like this poet, this poem... His poems remind some poems our poet ?????? ??????????...
1 2 Reply
Susan Mayall 01 April 2018
I have loved this poem since I read it in a school anthology in the 1940s. We did not study it - we were lucky enough to be able to explore poetry for ourselves. I knew that hush when the local trains stopped on a quiet country village station, and I knew those villages. Now I have been to Adelstrop. It is much the same, equally quiet, but the station has gone.
1 1 Reply
Rutti Green 08 February 2018
Visited Adlestrop today because of Thomas’s poem. On a clear, chill February day the birds song was very evident in that quiet hamlet, although the trains have been silenced. Evocative of a bygone time when Edward Thomas saw the name and penned those memorable words.
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Norman Eades 17 January 2018
A simple poem with no thought of intellectualising it other than face value.persnalising it from internal feelings have made it iconic.I am sure there was no other intent by the author other than simplicity written off the cuff.Never the less evocative and beautiful.
0 1 Reply
Alan Vickers 06 April 2017
Adletrop. I recently drove through the village and was saddened to see that all that remained of the picture Edward Thomas painted was a sign by a bus stop. But the poem really recalls a spiritual experience. You cannot physicallyl hear all the birds of Oxfordshire and Gloucestershire. But if you suddenly soar into a different consciousness, that is your experience - beyond time, beyond this immediate physical space. It is probably an experience that MANY people have and dismiss it without much thought, but it is a liberation from the petty little ego consciousness into something vaster and beautiful.
5 3 Reply
Chris Hardy 18 March 2017
It all happened - it's in his diary (24/6/14) and he simply made a poem later, following his mentor Frost's advice to make verse from his prose. He was on his way to see Frost in Ledbury, and his wife Helen was in the carriage too - unmentioned. The train stopped 'unwontedly' because it was an 'express', not supposed to stop at what was the Mitford family's private station. Adlestrop is the perfect example of a poem showing how simple, ordinary things, gathered in words, show directly the strange beauty of life. LiTTLe MACHiNe www.little-machine.com have set this to music - every time we play it live the whole audience sings the last verse with us. This poem expresses what the ordinary soldiers thought they were fighting for - which is why LiTTLe MACHiNe recorded it on their album of WW1 poems ' A Blackbird Sang'. Incidentally Adlestrop is the poet laureate's favourite poem..
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Bryan Timmins 08 October 2015
I knew this poem from school and later as a serving officer in the first gulf war it hit me with all its embedded meaning, a home far away, untouchable peace and the pain of it not being mine anymore. When and where Thomas wrote this almost narcotic dream of innocence says to me it is unsentimental and more a war poem than i first understood it to be.
21 2 Reply
From the emptiness of Adlestrop to the song of the solitary blackbird and then to the avian cacophony of Oxfordshire and Gloucestershire - a beautiful poem like the mist in that afternoon.
11 3 Reply
Jean-paul Audouy 23 January 2013
Did just the same ad Marlene. I wanted absolutely to read the whole poem after its evoked in Sweet Tooth p.178. I've know some of the other War Poets and love everything by Wilfred Owen. Thanks to Ian McEwan, I'll discover Edward Thomas.
16 5 Reply

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