Thursday, March 3, 2011

For Edward Thomas

Today is Edward Thomas's birthday.  He was born in 1878.  The following poem is by Elizabeth Jennings.

                 For Edward Thomas

I have looked about for you many times,
Mostly in woods or down quiet roads,
Often in birds whose question-times
Sound like the echo of your moods

When sombre.  I've not found you yet
In day sounds or dream-threaded night
You watched through, tired-eyed.  I set
Such places by, finding no sight

Of you in this strange hunt.  I turn
Back to your words.  You do not haunt
Them either.  Suddenly I learn
Your art of being reticent,

Of leaving birds, trees, hills alone.
You left no spirit in any place
Or spoors of yours where you had gone.
Yet, though there is no print or trace

Of you, I see a different way,
As if your writing were a shine
Upon cool suns, your words the play
Of stars with water, your dark -- mine.

Elizabeth Jennings, Consequently I Rejoice (Carcanet 1977).

                                         Edward Thomas (1878-1917)


zmkc said...

That's a beautiful poem, thank you.

Stephen Pentz said...

zmkc: it is very nice, isn't it? I think that it accurately reflects both his character (to the extent that we can know it, of course) and some essential aspects of his poetry. I'm pleased that you enjoyed it.