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.
I love this poem, for me it is number one. The best poem ever.
first studied it at school. Edward Thomas became a huge influence on me
and my own writing. Many take this poem at face value, as yes, it is a
beautiful poem. But Edward was known as a war poet. And at school we
were asked to question: "why was the platform empty? why was the fair
still and lonely? why were the haycocks dry? in-fact, where the hell is
Well, back in WW1 they would send entire
villages off to war. And often the whole village would make up a
battalion. It is possible that he was suggesting everyone had gone to
war and been wiped out.
Of course, we don't know, but I
liked the idea of this double meaning and strive for this in my own
works. I heard a programme about the poem on radio 4 many years ago and
no-one even slightly mentioned that there maybe more to this poem than a
lovely look at the countryside. This bugged me for many years.