Sunday, 11 January 2015

First Known When Lost

That is the title of an excellent poetry blog I visit (see my sidebar on Codlins and Cream).  I thought I would start the New Year off with poetry, and have been reading poems daily this past week.  Thomas Hardy, R S Thomas, Edward Thomas. . .  I hope you enjoy this one of ET's:


I never had noticed it until
'Twas gone, - the narrow copse
Where now the woodman lops
The last of the willows with his bill,

It was not more than a hedge overgrown,
One meadow's breadth away
I passed it day by day,
Now the soil is bare as a bone,

And black betwixt two meadows green,
Though fresh-cut faggot ends
Of hazel make some amends
With a gleam as if flowers they had been.

Strange it could have hidden so near!
And now I see as I look
That the small winding brook,
A tributary's tributary, rises there.

This is one of my favourite poems of Edward Thomas.  How we often take things for granted in the familiar landscape around us, hardly deigning it with a second glance until it is altered, ruined . . .

Edward Thomas walked like the rest of us drew breath.  It was his escape from reality, his reward for hard work, his balm, his challenge, his inspiration, his creative time, his life.  In a day he might walk 20 miles or far more, taking in the landscape he saw around him in great minutiae, jotting down sentences, descriptions in his notebook to write up later in his poetic prose which finally matured into poetry.  I can just imagine him pulling up short by this little field edge corner and thinking, it was there yesterday and now . . . and out came his notebook.


  1. This seems so true of lie---the words not written down, photo not taken--and the thought passes without having been duly considered and processed. I constantly regret that, and then wonder that I could have attached such importance to something I didn't manage to write!

  2. I often get Keith to write down my "thoughts" (like Chairman Mao!) if I am driving and see something beautiful and have to put it down in words. Sometimes these even reach home, and get incorporated in something, but more often than not, they get forgotten and light the fire . . . as they are usually on the top of the newspaper!

  3. so many things we take for granted, that they will be there or remain the same. and then they change and are sorely missed.