Poetic Beats

Welcome to this week’s Poetic Beats with Howard Bond and Davy D, recorded on the 11th of June 2018 on Red Kite Radio.

On the 24th of June 1914 the poet, Edward Thomas, was on a train to visit fellow poet Robert Frost, when the train made an unscheduled stop at Adlestrop station in Gloucestershire. Thomas recorded notes of the brief visit and the words went on to form the poem Adlestrop, voted in the top 20 British poems ever to be written.

The poem has been compared to the works of Elgar and Henry V’s speech before the Battle of Agincourt and has been described as everything that is typically English.

If you have difficulty listening to the show, a text version of the poem is included after the soundbar.

To hear this recording of Poetic Beats press the arrow to the left of the soundbar below.




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.


Edward Thomas.



So very beautiful is this poem. So seemingly simple but with observations pared down to make the vision so strong.
I feel the last stanza really makes the poem sing.


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    Thank you Miriam and I am glad you enjoyed it. I love the simplicity of the words and to think if the train had not made the unscheduled stop then we would never have had this poem. Have a good weekend and thanks for taking time out to listen and comment.

    Liked by 2 people

An interesting poem I’ve never looked at , given a great intro into its importance, popularity and context by you Sir. thank you.

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    A pleasure Nigel and glad you enjoyed it. It is one of those poems that is included in many anthologies but you never realise its power until you spend some time with it. It is a great example of how poetry doesn’t have to be complicated to be effective. I appreciate you taking time out to listen and comment. Have a good weekend.

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      Yes, that’s what I love about it. I get such a strong sense of the experience with such simple language. Frost was good at that too, as I recall. It was sad to learn, though, that Thomas died not too long after in WWI.

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What a nice treat, Davy. I researched Adlestrop, which gave me a little more understanding of the meaning of the poem. A beautifully written and interesting piece.

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    Thank you Eugenia and I am glad to have introduced the poem to you. It is easy to understand why it was listed as one of the top 20 British poems. It paints such a wonderful picture of everything considered English. Have a good weekend.

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I enjoyed hearing the journal entry that became such a lovely poem. Unscheduled events and simple observations seem to create some of the best pieces of art. That’s the beauty of the unexpected at times. I’ve spent some time exploring some of his poetry this morning so thanks for introducing another great poet/poem.

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    Thank you Colleen and you make a great point about observation and simplicity. I was pleased to have found the journal entry as it brought more meaning to the poem and good to see the process as to how the poem evolved from his original notes. Another great example of how the most wonderful poems can come from the simplest of things. Thank you for taking time out to listen and comment, it is most appreciated. Have a good weekend.

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YAY! Poetic Beats! Hey, Davy D! Hey, Howard! 🙂

What an important, beautiful, descriptive, emotion-filled poem! Thank you for sharing it with us!

How wonderful that Mr. Thomas and Mr. Frost became friends! 🙂
I’m so sad to hear how Mr. Thomas died. 😦

I’m so glad we have his heart, soul, thoughts, etc., with us today, in his words and poems. He lives on.

HUGS!!! Happy summery Summer! 🙂 Ha “I’ll drink to that” 🙂

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    Thank you for your kind words and thoughts Carolyn and apologies for the delay in replying as had a family weekend. Reading and researching Edward Thomas has got me wanting to read more of his poetry. I love the simplicity in his words. Have a great week and thank you for taking time to listen and comment :).

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Great to hear some Edward Thomas (my favourite though is “The Sign-Post”)! I’ve often wondered whether the two uses of “shire” in the last line might have been pronounced differently by Thomas: Oxfordshire (“shire” rhymes with “spire”) and Gloucestershire (“shire” rhymes with “spear”), to avoid monotony, and to improve the chime with “mistier”. I’d be happy to hear any thoughts on this!

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    Thank you for the comment Chinaman Creek and I will look up The Sign-Post as I haven’t read much of Edward Thomas’s poetry. You make an interesting comment here about pronunciation. If you go on YouTube there are a number of readings of the poem including Richard Burton and Geoffrey Palmer where the county endings are pronounced SH. Maybe when the poem was written the pronunciation was SHYER but I am unable to find any readings from Thomas to hear if that was the case. I do know that this poem is classified as Free Verse. Although there appears to be a rhyming scheme in the written poem, due to the placing of the punctuation and breaks in the stanzas the reading of the poem makes the rhymes more subtle. Again unless we actually hear the poet read his own poem it is open to interpretation. I live on the border of Oxfordshire and Buckinghamshire and the locals in Oxfordshire pronounce the county name with the closed SH ending. Thanks for raising a very interesting point and topic for conversation.

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      Edward Thomas is great stuff. He should be as well known as Robert Frost. I would give up all of Ezra Pound and most of T. S. Eliot for the man who could write “whatever happens, it must befall/a mouthful of earth to remedy all/ regrets and wishes shall freely be given”! He is skeptical, colloquial, and about as close to the natural world as you can get.

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      I look forward to reading more about him and thank you for the recommendation.


A great and important choice of poem, Davy. It truly speaks of England and only England.

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    Thank you Roland and I agree, the poem typifies, in a subtle way, all that is English and keeps away from some of the poetry with more nationalistic leanings. Thank you for taking time out to read and comment.

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