Sunday, 9 September 2018

Sunday WW1 Remembered ...

A Sampling of War Poets


Edward Thomas

1898 - 1917


Fair was the morning, fair our tempers, and

We had seen nothing fairer than that land,

Though strange, and the untrodden snow that made

Wild of the tame, casting out all that was

Not wild and rustic and old; and we were glad.

Fair, too, was afternoon, and first to pass

Were we that league of snow, next the north wind.

There was nothing to return for, except need,

And yet we sang nor ever stopped for speed,

As we did often with the start behind.

Faster still strode we when we came in sight

Of the cold roofs where we must spend the night.

Happy we had not been there, nor could be.

Though we had tasted sleep and food and fellowship

Together long. 

“How quick” to someone's lip

The words came, “will the beaten horse run home.”

The word “home” raised a smile in us all three,

And one repeated it, smiling just so

That all knew what he meant and none would say.

Between three counties far apart that lay

We were divided and looked strangely each

At the other, and we knew we were not friends

But fellows in a union that ends

With the necessity for it, as it ought. 

Never a word was spoken, not a thought

Was thought, of what the look meant with the word

“Home” as we walked and watched the sunset blurred.

And then to me the word, only the word,

“Homesick,” as it were playfully occurred:

No more. If I should ever more admit

Than the mere word I could not endure it

For a day longer: this captivity

Must somehow come to an end, else I should be

Another man, as often now I seem,

Or this life be only an evil dream.

Phillip Edward Thomas was an Anglo-Welsh poet. Although few of his poems deal directly with war, he is considered to be a war poet.

He enlisted in the army in 1915, and was killed in action during the Battle of Arras in 1917, soon after he arrived in France.


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