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By Edward Thomas

Seated once by a brook, watching a child

Chiefly that paddled, I was thus beguiled.

Mellow the blackbird sang and sharp the thrush

Not far off in the oak and hazel brush,

Unseen. There was a scent like honeycomb

From mugwort dull. And down upon the dome

Of the stone the cart-horse kicks against so oft

A butterfly alighted. From aloft

He took the heat of the sun, and from below.

On the hot stone he perched contented so,

As if never a cart would pass again

That way; as if I were the last of men

And he the first of insects to have earth

And sun together and to know their worth.

I was divided between him and the gleam,

The motion, and the voices, of the stream,

The waters running frizzled over gravel,

That never vanish and for ever travel.

A grey flycatcher silent on a fence

And I sat as if we had been there since

The horseman and the horse lying beneath

The fir-tree-covered barrow on the heath,

The horseman and the horse with silver shoes,

Galloped the downs last. All that I could lose

I lost. And then the child’s voice raised the dead.

“No one’s been here before” was what she said

And what I felt, yet never should have found

A word for, while I gathered sight and sound.


Source: Last Poems (1918)

Poet Bio

Born in London and educated at Oxford University, Edward Thomas worked long hours as a contract writer to support his young family. He struck up a friendship with a new neighbor, then-unknown poet Robert Frost, who persuaded Thomas to give poetry a try. Under the pseudonym Edward Eastaway, Thomas published the volume Six Poems (1916) and composed more than 100 other poems. He died in the Battle of Arras in World War I.

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