Sunday, 5 May 2013

Adlestrop (a short poem by Edward Thomas)

People who have the dubious honour of knowing me personally know that I am most certainly not an "arty" kind of person.

OK I play music semi-professionally in a "ceilidh band", and have an eclectic taste in music, well I think I have anyway,  but other forms of "high art"  (visual and the written word) are a mystery to me.   My taste seems to be very unsophisticated in comparison with that of others.

I mean, a picture should _look_ like something, shouldn't it?  I'm an engineer by profession, I believe in Ohm's Law!

However Damien Hirst makes far more money than I do, so I guess I'm the one in the wrong.

But perhaps by way of proof that I am not a complete Philistine, here is my favourite poem.

It's very short  but it evokes such imagery in my imagination that it astounds me in its brevity and seeming simplicity.  I never tire of reading it.


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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