The sun came out yesterday, the sky filled with cotton wool clouds, and birds chirped merrily. An idyllic English afternoon in early Spring, in fact.

Edward Thomas (1878-1917) in 1905 Rupert Brooke (1887-1915) in April 1913 – colourized by jecinci

Oh, and there was also some bloke with a really annoying hedge trimmer in the background. So not as perfect as all that. But I only realised quite how annoying it was once the skies darkened and I went indoors to review the videos where it comes through as a super-annoying buzzing.

Two poems today, two different poets. Both written in the same year–1914–but published later. Both casting their mind’s eye with anguished nostalgia for a long-lost, earthy and rural England: the first (Edward Thomas’s Adelstrop) because it has been lost in the relentless march of progress, so-called, and urbanisation; the second (Rupert Brooke’s The Soldier) because of a fight in far-off lands that led to the slaughter of 100s of 1000s. Brooke anticipated the fall of so many.

There is added poignancy because both men would give their lives for this very England, their idyllic home. Brooke died in 1915 as a result of mosquito bite infection, on the Greek island of Skyros, where he was with troops heading to the horrors of Gallipoli. Thomas was killed in the British lines on Western Front, in the Battle of Arras in 1917, soon after arriving on Easter Monday.

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Adelstrop Station as it was; the old station sign now in nearby bus-shelter; the line where the station once stood
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