In my recent post on Edward Thomas's poem "October," I opined that the combination of beauty and melancholy is a common occurrence in his poetry. I also stated that "beauty was absolutely real for Thomas -- it was not a poetic conceit." In retrospect, I fear that those blithe pronouncements sound a bit high-falutin'. In order to partially atone for my sins, here is a poem by Thomas about . . . melancholy and beauty.
What does it mean? Tired, angry, and ill at ease,
No man, woman, or child alive could please
Me now. And yet I almost dare to laugh
Because I sit and frame an epitaph --
'Here lies all that no one loved of him
And that loved no one.' Then in a trice that whim
Has wearied. But, though I am like a river
At fall of evening while it seems that never
Has the sun lighted it or warmed it, while
Cross breezes cut the surface to a file,
This heart, some fraction of me, happily
Floats through the window even now to a tree
Down in the misting, dim-lit, quiet vale,
Not like a pewit that returns to wail
For something it has lost, but like a dove
That slants unswerving to its home and love.
There I find my rest, and through the dusk air
Flies what yet lives in me. Beauty is there.