Key Quotes for Edward Thomas Poetry


Lights Out

'I have come to the borders of sleep,'  only line not in Iambic Pentaminer 

'Up to the Forest Brink,' Represents all uncertainity in sleep 

'Forest where all must loose' Forests are used in traditional fairytales. It also shows that sleep is equal for all- its inevitable.

'Here love ends,/Despair, ambition ends,' In sleep you still have emotions, dreams express emotions so he could be talking about death. Drawn to oblivion...Negative Capability 

'That I may lose my way/And myself.'As the poem loses regularity, the last line is irregular, Thomas loses himself. Meaning reflects form.

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'Now I know that spring will come again.' Not resentful of the fact that he has learnt from nature and isnt ignorant to the fact that nature has superiority. Draws on romantics and Rousseau.

'But 'twas too late for warmth.' The thrushes juxtapose all other elements of nature in that they supply hope whereas everything else gives disappointment even the sun.

'And to me all was sweet: they could do no wrong.' the thrushes are perfect and hopeful. Didatic

'What did the thrushes know?' Nature is didatic. Draws on ideas of the romantics. Irrepressible and optimistic.

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'Far more I feared all company: too sharp, too rude,' Human company is intrusive and not preferrable to that of solitude.

'Yet naught did my despair/But sweeten the strange sweetness,' Paradoxical ideas, despair sweetens solitude.

'...I heard a distant cuckoo calling...Rumours of what had touched my friends,' Nature acts as an agent in which Thomas can experience things such as rumours. It allows room for thought.

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No One So Much As You

'You know me through and through/ Though I have not told,' The break in the metre (iambic pentaminer) represents the break in communication, the soltidue he prefers and how his relationship is unconventional.

'I but respond to you/And do not love.' Thomas is linking humans to animals through animal instincts to emphasise the truth behind his points. Links to his use of hounds in Tears.

'A pine in solitude/Crdaling a dove.' Throughout the poem there is hardly any imagery yet he finishes the poem off with a strong metaphor. This represents the his true feelings and his genuine feeling of guilt.

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'Rain, midnight rain, nothing but the wild rain' Starts of talking about rain in a way that appears singular but then at the end he talks about a tempest. Zooming out. The repetition of the word rain also creates the sound effect of beating rain against the hut he is living in.

'Blessed are the dead that the rain rains upon:' The use of spondées also creates the sound effect of the pouring rain.

'Myriads of broken reeds all still and stiff.' Semantic field of water

'Since I was born into this solitude.' Semantic field of birth and renewal.

'Helpless amoung the living and the dead.' Death is treated as an end but also a beginning. For Thomas death isnt the end but the start of something greater.

'Has not dissolved except the love of death,' The idea of negative capability is shown here. 

'Cannot, the tempest tells me, disappoint.' Links to the first quote as using a tempest adds perspective and zooms out. It shows to Thomas his insignificant rain drop is nothing in the grand scheme of things and this reflects his feelings upon life of feeling small.

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' a great dragon' Shows unity and reflects the close knit relationship of soliders in a pack. 

'In blooming meadow that bends towards the sun' This very quiet rural place in Kent is juxtaposed by war and its loud nature. This is another example of Thomas comparing war and nature to expose war in a negative light as it corrupts the nature it is in comparison too.

'And silence told me truths I had not dreamed' Silence can be the biggest form of communication

'Strange solitude was there and silence.' Concepts of soltidue and silence being repeated contrasts with the idea of war

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The Glory

'The cuckoo crying over the untouched dew;/The blackbird that has found it, and the dove' Lists the elements of nature and is in awe of them yet as he lists them his mood worsens as he can not match it.

'...the sublime vacancy' Ideas of the romantics = wonder and pleasure. You can learn from nature.

'Begin to seek as far as heaven, as hell.' The use of extremes highlights that no matter how far he looks he will find nothing to match nature. Reinforces his bad mood and inadiquices.

'And tread the pale dust pitted with small dark drops,' The abundance of monosyllabic words makes him equal to nature

'Or must I be content with discontent' Negative capaibilty, you have to be happy with imperfections. Is discontent natural?

'And shall I let it all go,...Is Time?' As he realises he cant match nature and fully appreciate it he is left with an existential crisis.

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The Sun Used to Shine

'Slowly together, paused and started/Again,' Punctuation mirrors the metre of walking

'...or crocuses/Pale purple as if they had their birth/In sunless Hades fields.' Lots of edonic imagery is tinged and corrupted by war.

'Could as well imagine the Crusades/Or Caesar's battles.' Wars in the past show how was is cyclical and repetitive. This shows that war is part of human nature which juxtaposes the untiy displayed between Thomas and Frost through the use of pronouns. 'And the late past we gave small heed./We turned...'

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This is No Case of Petty Right or Wrong

'That politicians or philosphers/Can judge.' Use of opposites and 2 extremes. This alongisde the use of caesura highlights his want to be disassociated from such people.

'justice or injustice.' Ironic that the poem is called no case as there are loads od opposites throughout.

'The phoenix broods serene above their ken.' Phoenix can regenerate and represent rebirth, This highlights how war will be cyclical and come again after this one finishes. 

'And as we love ourselves we hate her foe.' The structure of the last line mirros the structure of the title with the use of all but one word being in monosyllables. This also shows the repetitive nature of war.

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As the Team's Head-Brass

'The lovers disappeared into the wood.' Typical pastoral element.

'The blizzard felled the elm whose crest/I sat in.' War tinges natures

'I watched the clods crumble and topple over' Language of death, nature is tinged by war - war effects everything.

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'No one left and no one came/On the bar platform.' Lack of people (so solitude) allows him to notice nature.

'And willows, willow-herb, and grass,' Lots of punctuation reflects the intricute detail he is looking at.

'And for that minute a blackbird sang.' Time and place

'Of Oxfordshire and Gloucestershire.' PLacing and adding perspective.

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But these things also

'The shell of a little snail bleached/In the grass, chip of flint, and mite' Lots of minutiae which is supported by the abundance of monosyllabic words. It highlights that although individually these things are insignificant as a whole they have an effects of disappointment.

'...and starling flocks/By chattering on and on' Birds are a symbol of hope and lift his spirits as they get continually worse throughout the poem.

'And srping's here, Winter's not gone.' Negative Capability, frustration and Paradox.

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