Adlestrop

Adlestrop.

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.

An Autumn afternoon and we were staying with my sister, the artist  Anuk Naumann and her husband Roger. While Mike ensconced himself in front of the rugby we went for a long walk. Our starting point was Adlestrop. There was no one around and the village was wrapped in that very still quiet feeling that comes at this time of year, as if the season itself is slowly slipping into a winter sleep.

There is no station now at Adlestrop. Nothing but the sign in the bus shelter, with Edward Thomas’s poem inscribed on a plaque beneath the name.  A symbol of transience, the passing of time, the unimportance of the trivial things that can cause such stress and worry.

And the thought that a powerful poem can indeed last for ever. Cotswold Walk 1
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