Adlestrop 9th July, 2015 – photograph courtesy of Jane Goldsack
A Sequence in homage to Edward Thomas’ Adlestrop
Like a Bullet Train
Through the heart of my country:
Your words travelled at speeds
Beyond my belief.
On the surface, overland
They said one thing;
But, they were saying something
Deeper, darker, underneath.
I felt their bite
As they hurtled through my station;
And, although they failed to stop,
Their passing left me changed,
You are not really a poet
Unless you’ve been to Adlestrop;
It’s an old, abandoned station,
Where the trains don’t stop;
So, don’t think you’re smart
With your beat-box rhymes
And your new hip-hop;
Because, you are really ‘not’ a poet
Until you’ve been to Adlestrop.
I Stopped at Adlestrop
For a very short while
Had to clear some memory on my phone
In order to capture the moment
And then someone else needed to stop there
For a photographic potpourri;
And the bees buzzed,
And carried on their way;
As I carried on mine,
After an all-to-short stop
At a place with a name
And a bench with a poem upon it.
Edward’s Adlestrop has changed,
As everything does in time,
No train stopped
Or pulled away
On that sunny July day.
Adlestrop by Edward Thomas
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.
Return to Adlestrop – Graeme Sandford
I can’t sell you a ticket to Adlestrop!
There’s no station there, and the train won’t stop
It’s been a long time since Adlestrop
was there at all, There’s no way you’ll be reaching
that destination, since Beeching removed the station.
He took out the heart of the railway nation – seemingly with elation.
I can do you a return to Kingham
or Moreton in Marsh, sir.
But there’s nothing closer
I know it’s harsh
to lose such a place,
it’s a proper disgrace,
almost an ‘improper’ disgrace,
and you can tell I’m upset
by the look on my face.