A machinima around the poetry of Edward Thomas, with an introduction by myself.
Edward Thomas was born in London in 1878 to a mostly Welsh family. One of the foremost literary critics of his age, he turned to poetry in 1914 with the encouragement of Robert Frost. He could have avoided enlisting to the army, but still enlisted in 1915. Although called a war poet, the war is not described in a vivid or violent way but as a shady unsettling presence on the edges of his poetry. He died in the Battle of Arras in 1917.
From the time that I discovered his poetry during 'O' level English around 1975, he has been a constant presence and and inspiration as a writer. In the first poem I write my own tribute to him (recognising that my work is a shadow of his), and three of his poems follow: 'The Bridge', 'How At Once' and 'In Memoriam (Easter 1915)' (Public domain).
I have come a long way to-day:
On a strange bridge alone,
Remembering friends, old friends,
I rest, without smile or moan,
As they remember me without smile or moan.
All are behind, the kind
And the unkind too, no more
To-night than a dream. The stream
Runs softly yet drowns the Past,
The dark-lit stream has drowned the Future and the Past.
No traveller has rest more blest
Than this moment brief between
Two lives, when the Night's first lights
And shades hide what has never been,
Things goodlier, lovelier, dearer, than will be or have been.
How at once
How at once should I know,
When stretched in the harvest blue
I saw the swift's black bow,
That I would not have that view
Until next May
Again it is due?
The same year after year -
But with the swift alone.
With other things I but fear
That they will be over and done
And I only see
Them to know them gone.
In Memoriam (Easter, 1915)
The flowers left thick at nightfall in the wood
This Eastertide call into mind the men,
Now far from home, who, with their sweethearts, should
Have gathered them and will do never again.
Call sounds of swifts by Timo Tschentscher, XC331848. www.xeno-canto.org/331848. CC BY-NC-SA 4.0
Image of swift by pau.artigas, Falciot #2. https://www.flickr.com/photos/7686882@N08/4560391937/. CC BY-SA 2.0