Day Out

I remember Adlestrop the place

I went there in the summer of sixty-four

Thomas went before he went to France

Before the shell that killed him

That left no trace

Not a mark upon him

The shock wave took his life

 

For me day off day out before exams

I got top marks in Greek in Latin too

But French somehow I only wobbled through

And on that day we stopped in Oxfordshire

And heard of Thomas and the train he took

And how it stopped unwontedly

And he looked round about

At haycocks in a meadow

And heard the sound of birds

And no one came and no one went

That day of summer sun

England lay deserted

Her sons soon to be in foreign fields

Amid the sound of guns

And mud and madness

 

Like Thomas I never saw a soul that day

Just the farmer’s fields

And trees and a country lane

That goes I suppose to Gloucestershire

A beautiful deserted spot

That boys went fighting for

And I came there to view it

In the summer of sixty-four

 

Brian Fahy

14 February 2023

 

Adlestrop is a poem written by Edward Thomas. It is beautiful and haunting, written following a railway journey that the poet made on24 June 1914. Later on the poet went to France and lost his life, standing at a sentry post, killed by the blast of a shell that left no mark upon him. It was 9th April 1917, the place Arras.

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