When Edward Thomas was killed at the Battle of Arras in 1917 his poems were largely unpublished. But in the years since his death, his work has come to be cherished for its rare, sustained vision of the natural world and as 'a mirror of England' (Walter de la Mare). This new edition offers a selection of some of Thomas's most memorable nature poetry.
This heart, some fraction of me, happily
Floats through the window even now to a tree
Down in the misting, dim-lit, quiet vale,
Not like a pewit that returns to wail
Forsomething it has lost, but like a dove
That slants unswerving to its home and love.
Edward Thomas was born in Lambeth, London, in 1878, and educated at St Paul's College and Lincoln College, Oxford. Though his reputation is built on his poetry – which he took up at the suggestion of his friend Robert Frost – he was also a prolific writer of prose, much of it dedicated to capturing his love of the English countryside. Thomas voluntarily enlisted in the Artists' Rifles in 1915 and was commissioned into the Royal Garrison Artillery in 1916. He was killed in action at Arras on 9 April 1917. He is buried in France and commemorated in Westminster Abbey.