Oxfordshire

Adlestrop

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.

 

 

Adlestrop

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.

 

Oxfordshire in Autumn

Poetic Beats

Welcome to this weeks edition of Poetic Beats with Howard Bond and Davy D, recorded on the 4th of September 2017 on Red Kite Radio.

For September, we are changing the poetic theme to Autumn and in this edition look at Matthew Arnold’s poem, Oxfordshire, taken from his epic work, The Scholar Gipsy. Arnold is attributed to giving the City of Oxford the title, “City of Dreaming Spires”, when he provided the description in his poem Thyrsis.

For those of you who can’t access the recording, the text version of his poem is added after the recording bar.

To hear the recording, please press the arrow on the left of the sound bar below.

Have a great weekend.

 

Oxfordshire –  (from the Scholar Gipsy) 

And, above Godstow Bridge, when hay-time’s here

In June, and many a scythe in sunshine flames,

Men who through those wide fields of breezy grass

Where black-wing’d swallows haunt the glittering Thames,

To bathe in the abandon’d lasher pass,

Have often pass’d thee near

Sitting upon the river bank o’ergrown;

Mark’d thine outlandish garb, thy figure spare,

Thy dark vague eyes, and soft abstracted air—

But, when they came from bathing, thou wert gone!

 

At some lone homestead in the Cumner hills,

Where at her open door the housewife darns,

Thou hast been seen, or hanging on a gate

To watch the threshers in the mossy barns.

Children, who early range these slopes and late

For cresses from the rills,

Have known thee watching, all an April-day,

The springing pasture and the feeding kine;

And mark’d thee, when the stars come out and shine,

Through the long dewy grass move slow away.

 

In Autumn, on the skirts of Bagley Wood—

Where most the gipsies by the turf-edged way

Pitch their smok’d tents, and every bush you see

With scarlet patches tagg’d and shreds of grey,

Above the forest-ground called Thessaly—

The blackbird, picking food,

Sees thee, nor stops his meal, nor fears at all;

So often has he known thee past him stray,

Rapt, twirling in thy hand a wither’d spray,

And waiting for the spark from Heaven to fall.

Matthew Arnold