Edward Thomas Poems

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Edward Thomas
Edward Thomas (March 3, 1878 - April 9, 1917) was one of the best-known English poets who died in World War I. Thomas was born in London as Philip Edward Thomas. He was educated at Battersea Grammar School, St. Paul's School and Lincoln College, Oxford. His family was of Welsh extraction. Unusually he married while still an undergraduate and determined to live his life by the pen. He was already a seasoned writer before the outbreak of war, and had worked as a journalist before becoming a poet, with the encouragement of his close friend Robert Frost. Living at Steep, in Hampshire, he initially published some poetry under the name Edward Eastaway. He also wrote a novel and some works of non-fiction. When war broke out, Thomas joined the Artists' Rifles, despite being a mature married man who could have avoided enlisting. In fact, few of his poems deal directly with his war experiences. His poems are noted for their attention to the English countryside. He was killed in action at Arras on April 9, 1917, soon after he arrived in France. He was survived by his wife, Helen, his son Merfyn and his two daughters Bronwen and Myfanwy. After the war, Helen wrote about her courtship and early married life with Edward in the autobiography, 'As it Was' (1926); later she added a second volume, 'World Without End' (1931). Their daughter, Myfanwy, claims the books were written by her mother as a form of therapy to help lift her out of a deep depression that she succumbed to following the death of Edward. 'Under Storm's Wing' was published in 1997 and is a collection of writings including the two earlier autobiographies along with various other writings and letters. Thomas is buried in Agny Military Cemetery, France. (Row C, Grave 43.) He is also commemorated in "Poets' Corner", Westminster Abbey, London and by memorial windows in the churches at Steep, Hampshire, UK and Eastbury, Berkshire, UK. A short poem of Thomas's serves as an example of how he blends war and countryside throughout his poetry: In Memoriam 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. Edward Thomas' Collected Poems was one of Andrew Motion's ten picks for the poetry section of the "Guardian Essential Library" in October [2002]. In his 2002 novel Youth, J.M. Coetzee has his main character, intrigued by the survival of pre-modernist forms in British poetry, ask himself: "What happened to the ambitions of poets here in Britain? Have they not digested the news that Edward Thomas and his world are gone for ever?" (London: Secker & Warburg. 2002, p. 58). On the contrary, Irish critic Edna Longley writes that Thomas's "Lob", a 150-line poem, "strangely preempts The Waste Land" through verses like: "This is tall Tom that bore / The logs in, and with Shakespeare in the hall / Once talked". See Sherry, Vincent (ed.), The Cambridge Companion to the Literature of the First World War, Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2005, p. 67.

Out of us all
That make rhymes
Will you choose
Sometimes -
As the winds use... [read poem]
Yes, I remember Adlestrop --
The name, because one afternoon
Of heat the express-train dre... [read poem]
last lines
I hoped, that with the brave and strong,
My portioned task might lie;
To toil amid the... [read poem]
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