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.
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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.