Castle Combe final 1a



by Edward Thomas

Yes. I remember Adelstrop—

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 Adelstrop—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, around him, and mistier

     Farther and farther, all the birds

     Of Oxfordshire and Gloucestershire.

In June, 1914, the train of Edward Thomas pulled up at a small, quintessentially English rural railway station, and the first thing that caught his eye was the name, Adelstrop. He stopped, and began to listen to the sounds of the English countryside around him. Bird song, somnambulant buzzing of bees, a gentle rustling of a warm summer sigh through the trees, the smell of hay, grass, & willow-herb. He had found himself in the soft, warm heart of pastoral England. Transported through an invisible doorway into a paradise on earth within whose forgiving bosom he now lay his soul to rest a while. Everything sprang into his senses so clear and alive, like a violent charge of lightning, that he not so much watched, as sensed the pleasures surrounding him. He bathed his soaring spirit in a fresh, clear spring of new wonders……….Adelstrop.

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