Wednesday, March 25, 2009

others could not, that night

Downhill I came, hungry, and yet not starved,
Cold, yet had heat within me that was proof
Against the North wind; tired, yet so that rest
Had seemed the sweetest thing under a roof.

Then at the inn I had food, fire, and rest,
Knowing how hungry, cold, and tired was I.
All of the night was quite barred out except
An owl’s cry, a most melancholy cry.

Shaken out long and clear upon the hill
No merry note, nor cause of merriment,
But one telling me plain what I escaped
And others could not, that night, as in I went.

And salted was my food, and my repose,
Salted and sobered too, by the bird’s voice
Speaking for all who lay under the stars,
Soldiers and poor, unable to rejoice.
This is 'The Owl' by Edward Thomas, from the Collected Poems (Selwyn & Blount, 1920). It is the 29th poem that T.E. Lawrence wrote out in Minorities, his pocket book of blank pages.

It was written after World War I, somberly.

{Edward Thomas from the First World War Poetry Digital Archive}

Some sources:

Minorities, by T E Lawrence; ed. by Jeremy Wilson (London, Cape, 1971).

Collected poems, by Edward Thomas (Selwyn & Blount, 1920)

The Edward Thomas Collection, First World War Poetry Digital Archive

Edward Thomas 1878-1917 entry on

No comments: