Poems of Philip Edward Thomas



Although Edward Thomas wrote no poetry during his time in France during the First World War, war heavily pervaded his thoughts and it has a strong presence in his work. The First World War helped to focus Thomas as a poet and his work centres on the English idyll that is under threat. His poem Adlestrop is a good example of this. Inspired by a pause in a train journey Thomas took in 1914, the poem shows him looking at the English countryside in a new light and realising the depth of beauty in seemingly inconsequential places.

After serious consideration Thomas joined the Artists’ Rifles in 1915, at the age of 37. He was killed in the first hour of the Battle of Arras in 1917.





Yes, I remember Aldestrop – Yes, I remember Adlestrop –

At least the name. One afternoon The name, because

Of heat – the express train [ ] One afternoon

[ ] drew up there Of heat, the express train drew up

against its custom. It was June. there [ ]

Unwontedly. It was late June.

The steam hissed. Someone cleared his throat.
No one left & no one came
On the bare platform. What I saw
Was Adlestrop, only the name,

and, willows, willow herb & grass,
and meadowsweet. The haycocks dry
were not less still & lonely fair
Than the high cloudlets [ ] in the sky.

And all that minute a blackbird sang
Close by, and round him, mistier,
Farther & farther, all the birds
Of Oxfordshire & Gloucestershire.

Full title
Poems of Philip Edward Thomas
Poem / Manuscript
Philip Edward Thomas
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British Library
© Philip Edward Thomas
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