Yes, I Remember Adlestrop

I have been reminded twice about Adlestrop recently. First time was sitting in a cafe after I.T. marched at the Remembrance Day parade in Sale and leafing through the magazine of a Sunday paper I don’t normally read there was an article on the poem, alongside some First World War poetry. Adlestrop was by Edward Thomas, a poet who volunteered for service (despite being too old) and was killed in 1917. The gist of the article was that Adlestrop is a war poem that does not mention the war. I read it in the cafe and despite all the cafe hubbub and noise and the aftermath of the parade and I.T.’s part in it, for a minute or so there was only me and the poem. I don’t recall reading it since studying Thomas during 6th form.

By happy coincidence Davy H provided a link a day or two ago to a Gone West mix he did at Mixcloud, half an hour of pastoral music with some poetry kicking off with, yup,  Richard Burton reading Adlestrop and then on to tracks from Chicane, Led Zeppelin, XTC, Villagers and Orbital and back to the poetry with TS Eliot. It’s a really well put together mix and I thoroughly recommend it.

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. 

Adlestrop (read by Richard Burton)