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For Edward Thomas

  1. The Railway Line

In this neck of the woods

up – country in Hampshire

bundled up green

where you would have been

and seen me

much as I am now,

I hear you think of Adlestrop –

the train settled

in red waves of willow herb

about these country stations

I help to heft men through

haze – heavy with heat

humming with bees

like distant instruments tuning,

& Blackbirds fluting across Oxfordshire,

the last notes

beautiful in your brain

as you went down

in 1917,

your white throat

full of words

across my skinny vein,

your neck on the line.


2. The Kite


Look down

on wings bowed

like thin lips

primaries sharp as bayonets.

A train,

bit like a snake.

I like snakes

but they’ve got to be dead first.

This train hauls live meat

to where my kith & kin

gather and garner.

Look up,

you really should.

I am a crucifix, a clue,

if I could laugh I would.


3. The conifer plantation



spilling, dark stain, black tear

down the hill to the track

which lugs these men away,

rhythm buoying them on

di – dum di – dum

the faraway pulse of guns.

You need barking at

& get close enough

I’ll spit resin in your eye,

blind you,

as if you weren’t already

wall – eyed.




Published inPoetry

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