Edward Thomas was born to Welsh parents in London,
and educated at St Paul's School and Lincoln College, Oxford.
His father expected Edward to enter the Civil Service, but he was
determined to make a living as a writer. A prolific writer of prose,
and a moderately successful journalist, he began writing poetry in
1912 under the pseudonym Edward Eastaway but he did not devote himself fully
until 1913 after a meeting with Robert Frost, the American poet. Thomas
published several poems in journals under the pseudonym Edward Eastaway,
and IN 1915 when he enlisted to fight in the Great War, he had already made
considerable development as a poet. He arrived in France in 1917 and was killed
in action at Arras soon afterwards. Unlike other famous 'war poets' such as
Wilfred Owen or Siegfried Sassoon, Thomas did not concentrate directly on the
experience of war in his poetry. The love of the English countryside which informs
much of his work in prose is expressed with great beauty and subtlety in poems
such as 'Adlestrop'.
Yes, I remember Adlestrop --
The name, because one afternoon A
Of heat the express-train drew up there
Unwontedly. It was late June. A
The steam hissed. Someone cleared his throat.
No one left and no one came B
On the bare platform. What I saw
Was Adlestrop -- only the name B
And willows, willow-herb, and grass,
And meadowsweet, and haycocks dry, C
No whit less still and lonely fair
Than the high cloudlets in the sky. C
And for that minute a blackbird sang
Close by, and round him, mistier, D
Farther and farther, all the birds
Of Oxfordshire and Gloucestershire. D
In this poem, the poet develops the naturalistic aspects and it’s in contrast with the war poems. The poet gives us information about the place (Adlestrop) and about the time (“It was late June”, line 4).
The poem consists of 16 lines which are split into four stanzas. Lines begin with a Capital letter and they have different length. There is a regular rhyme scheme and the second line rhymes with the fourth. There is an alliteration (line 3 “Heat – tHe”), there are many repetitions (line 6 “no one… no one” // line 9 “willows, willow” // line 17 “farther and farther”). There is also an assonance (line 5 “hissed… cleared”).
The word “Unwontedly” in the fourth lines means that it wasn’t a usual stop. Lines 6 and 7 show the desolation caused by the war. In the third stanza there is a description of particular aspects of nature (“and grass, // And meadowsweet, and haycocks dry // No whit less still and lonely fair //Than the high cloudlets in the sky.)
I love this poem because the poet describes the desolation caused by the war and I think the last two stanzas are so touching.