(Poem No.31 of my favourite short poems)
A poem by Edward Thomas (1878-1917)
A very short poem, perhaps the shortest of my favourites. Unseasonal as it may be, ‘Thaw’ nevertheless merits its place in any list of beautiful short poems, and I do not apologise for including it here, in the middle of a beautiful Spring season. Edward Thomas wrote some of the finest poems of the early twentieth century, many of them composed between 1914 and 1917, that is during the course of World War I. He eventually lost his life at the Battle of Arras, aged only 39, in 1917. He is often thought of as a War Poet, but in fact many of his poems dealt with the beauties and vagaries of the natural world. Perhaps his best known poem, also short, is ‘Adlestrop’. (q.v.). Below I quote the four lines of his poem ‘THAW’ . . .
Over the land freckled with snow half-thawed
The speculating rooks at their nests cawed
And saw from elm-tops, delicate as flowers of grass,
What we below could not see, Winter pass.