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I remember Adlestrop...

By dudler  
Various things happened on 24 June at Adlestrop to celebrate the poem written about 24 June, 1914:

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.

Edward Thomas

This lady read the poem in costume: a local choral group sang it to a setting written by one of their members.

All to comemmorate a day when a train stopped where it was not supposed to. There's no longer a station there, though the railway runs nearby. A single-car diesel stopped, briefly, as a sort of heritage tribute, probably where the station used to be...

And a group of (mainly) retired council chief internal auditors did an 8-mile walk.

It takes all sorts.

Tags: Costume Centenary Reading Poetry Portraits and people Adlestrop

Voters: ugly, Andysnapper, jabe and 28 more

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Andysnapper 11 109 25 England
4 Jul 2014 6:27AM
Brilliant, the whole thing is so typically English, and none the worse for that.

A lovely shot and a great poem, lovely.


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4 Jul 2014 6:59AM
Great!!! Both of them are poems!!
bluesandtwos 9 405 1 England
4 Jul 2014 8:13AM

Quote:Brilliant, the whole thing is so typically English, and none the worse for that.

A lovely shot and a great poem, lovely.


I agree! I know nothing about any of this (were you one of the retired internal auditors? and why were they there?), but the image and poem are beautiful Mr. D. Perhaps you could enlighten me with a little more info Smile

PranavMishra 7 52 17 India
4 Jul 2014 8:28AM
the image fills the heart with peace.. a very fine portrait..
cats_123 Plus
15 4.9k 28 Northern Ireland
4 Jul 2014 8:59AM
Sounds so delightfully eccentric GrinGrinGrin
Bantu 6 7 1 India
4 Jul 2014 9:37AM
A great portrait.

mrswoolybill Plus
12 1.6k 2080 United Kingdom
4 Jul 2014 9:39AM
Eccentric and moving. The first episode of the BBC's Great War series, made nearly 50 years ago, included flickering cine film of people holidaying and relaxing in the summer of 1914, not knowing that their old world was about to be torn apart. There's the same feeling here, looking back now on lost innocence. Wonderful that tiny events are still remembered.
dudler Plus
16 945 1520 England
4 Jul 2014 11:08AM
Dave -

The "Old Lags" are a small group who used to meet regularly through a CIPFA group, and who now meet to get lost around the Midlands roughly every three months. Yes, I'm one of them (and I'm still involved in the group, though not currently very active, professionally, otherwise).

I had not heard of the poem before one of our number suggested moving the date of our next walk so that we could be at Adlestrop at the appointed hour. Why not? And it was a beautiful day for a picture (though nto necessarily for walking!)

I'd thought it might be some sort of a requiem for all the people and ideas that were to perish over the next four years: and it wasn't, really. Everything is much the same there as it was a hundred years ago.

I was reminded of my favourite (I think) poem from the era: better than Wilfred Owen or Siegfried Sassoon: as poignant as Rudyard Kipling's lament for his own son, killed in action ( "My Boy Jack" ). AE Housman wrote "Epitaph on an army of mercenaries" in response to a German gibe that the British Expeditionary Force was an army of mercenaries:

These, in the day when heaven was falling,
The hour when earth's foundations fled,
Followed their mercenary calling
And took their wages and are dead.

Their shoulders held the sky suspended;
They stood, and earth's foundations stay;
What God abandoned, these defended,
And saved the sum of things for pay.

But, so far, I haven't found anything that comes near to being visually adequate to illustrate that.
Outstanding portrait, John. The sparkle in the lady's eye, her pose and smile are beautiful. The context and both poems are very moving.
Deserves my UA.

inkarts 15 61 2
12 Dec 2015 9:27PM
Love this so delightful

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