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.

by Edward Thomas

Other poems of THOMAS (94)

Comments (18)

I have loved this poem since I read it in a school anthology in the 1940s. We did not study it - we were lucky enough to be able to explore poetry for ourselves. I knew that hush when the local trains stopped on a quiet country village station, and I knew those villages. Now I have been to Adelstrop. It is much the same, equally quiet, but the station has gone.
Visited Adlestrop today because of Thomas’s poem. On a clear, chill February day the birds song was very evident in that quiet hamlet, although the trains have been silenced. Evocative of a bygone time when Edward Thomas saw the name and penned those memorable words.
A simple poem with no thought of intellectualising it other than face value.persnalising it from internal feelings have made it iconic.I am sure there was no other intent by the author other than simplicity written off the cuff.Never the less evocative and beautiful.
Adletrop. I recently drove through the village and was saddened to see that all that remained of the picture Edward Thomas painted was a sign by a bus stop. But the poem really recalls a spiritual experience. You cannot physicallyl hear all the birds of Oxfordshire and Gloucestershire. But if you suddenly soar into a different consciousness, that is your experience - beyond time, beyond this immediate physical space. It is probably an experience that MANY people have and dismiss it without much thought, but it is a liberation from the petty little ego consciousness into something vaster and beautiful.
It all happened - it's in his diary (24/6/14) and he simply made a poem later, following his mentor Frost's advice to make verse from his prose. He was on his way to see Frost in Ledbury, and his wife Helen was in the carriage too - unmentioned. The train stopped 'unwontedly' because it was an 'express', not supposed to stop at what was the Mitford family's private station. Adlestrop is the perfect example of a poem showing how simple, ordinary things, gathered in words, show directly the strange beauty of life. LiTTLe MACHiNe have set this to music - every time we play it live the whole audience sings the last verse with us. This poem expresses what the ordinary soldiers thought they were fighting for - which is why LiTTLe MACHiNe recorded it on their album of WW1 poems ' A Blackbird Sang'. Incidentally Adlestrop is the poet laureate's favourite poem..
See More