Thursday, June 19, 2008

It Was Late June

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.


Only a handful of Edward Thomas's poems were published in his lifetime. He was killed on the first day of the Battle Of Arras, on Easter Monday 1917, aged 39.
I have loved this poem for a long time now - the way it captures that still, special moment in an unexpected stop at an unexpected place in a summertime in England.

They closed Adlestrop railway station in 1966, but they saved the station sign and stuck it in the village bus shelter.

I hope to pop by there someday.


This is from an old cassette I have of RB reading various poems.

Here's to unexpected stops.

Richard Burton - 'Adlestrop' (by Edward Thomas)


  1. Go here:

    If you've never seen this blog before I think you might like it...

  2. my great grandad died in that one too along with almost everyone from his works. we took my gran over to find his grave a few years ago. he was in a massive field in france laid out in never ending rows laid out by day.

  3. I did a lovely 3 mile hike from Adlestrop last year.

    Have you checked out Sir John Betjeman's Metroland available on DVD - it's a real treat.

  4. I love it that cravat-toting Swingin' Hipster DJ and mixmeister Mondo 'did a lovely 3 mile hike from Adlestrop last year'. Kendall Mint Cake or squashed buns? Unmitigated England indeed.

    I love Metroland, but I ain't got it.

    'Graves by day' sort of puts it into perspective doesn't it?

  5. I'm a terror for a trot in the country, always on the hoof and hike on holidays. I've been up Ben Nevis and everything (in an Elvis T Shirt).

  6. I'm in Hungary at the moment, it's hot and I'm working around the clock on a 'go live' as we say in the trade. This poem has just taken me back home. Beautiful. Actually the grounds of the factory where I'm working have some great gardens. In reaks its good to stroll around them and like a green and pleasant England the whole place is kinda peaceful - especially at midnight!

  7. ... of course that should of said "in breaks.." and mine has finished now.

  8. Darce! Marvellous to have you pop in from Out There!

    Midsummer's Day today - so overcast and threatening rain in England. Naturally. There was a burst of sun at 5ish, just to keep us hopeful...and we still have the back door open to the garden...

  9. And now it really is midnight here. Just about ready to pack up for the night. A beer or two awaits methinks.


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