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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)

  • Arts & Sciences
  • Living
  • Nature

Poet Bio

Edward Thomas
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. See More By This Poet

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