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Dutch “The Path Well Trodden” by John de Gruyther

In a new weekly feature, I have imaginatively called “Poem of The Week”, I hope to share with you my favourite poems. I am not a literary critic so I will not try to analyse them but just let the verses speak for themselves.

I believe a poem is intensely personal to each individual and whilst it is interesting to know what motivated the author, I think it is much better to just feel the words.

This week I have chosen Rain by Edward Thomas. Edward Thomas had a strong friendship with my favourite poet Robert Frost and Frost’s poem “The Road Not Taken”, was taken by Thomas as a challenge to his own indecision over his feelings towards the First World War. Thomas was furious with Frost and though Frost assured him the poem should not be taken that way, it was a final motivating factor in Thomas’s decision to join up and fight in the Great War.

Tragically Thomas was killed two months in to his first active participation in the war.

I have recently become involved in a project to create a play about World War One, and that lead me to further research of Thomas and his work. That is how I came across this beautiful piece called Rain. I found it sad, full of melancholy and utterly wonderful;

Rain by Edward Thomas

Rain, midnight rain, nothing but the wild rain
On this bleak hut, and solitude, and me
Remembering again that I shall die
And neither hear the rain nor give it thanks
For washing me cleaner than I have been
Since I was born into this solitude.
Blessed are the dead that the rain rains upon:
But here I pray that none whom once I loved
Is dying to-night or lying still awake
Solitary, listening to the rain,
Either in pain or thus in sympathy
Helpless among the living and the dead,
Like a cold water among broken reeds,
Myriads of broken reeds all still and stiff,
Like me who have no love which this wild rain
Has not dissolved except the love of death,
If love it be towards what is perfect and
Cannot, the tempest tells me, disappoint.

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