Edward Thomas Fellowship Birthday Walk -2nd March
The ETF always has a day of walking around the Steep area on the nearest Sunday to Edward's birthday, 3rd March. We meet at the car park, Bedales School at 10am. Anyone can come - it is not restricted to members and you will be very welcome. You need proper walking clothing. The morning walk is four and a half miles, the afternoon walk less. It is too late to book lunch but there are two pubs and a packed lunch can be brought of course.
The Fellowship holds its AGM at the end of the day. There are tremendous activities organised for the whole of the years of the First World War, matching as far as possible the pattern of Edward Thomas's involvement. See the website www.edwardthomasfellowship.org.uk
I am going to be reading two poems, 'A Tale' and 'The Path'. Here they are : I used both of them in my novel and am very fond of both - they reflect the happier side of Edward and Helen's Steep days.
THERE once the walls
Of the ruined cottage stood.
The periwinkle crawls
With flowers in its hair into the wood.
In flowerless hours
Never will the bank fail,
With everlasting flowers
On fragments of blue plates, to tell the tale.
That saves from the precipitous wood below
The level road, there is a path. It serves
Children for looking down the long smooth steep,
Between the legs of beech and yew, to where
A fallen tree checks the sight: while men and women
Content themselves with the road and what they see
Over the bank, and what the children tell.
The path, winding like silver, trickles on,
Bordered and even invaded by thinnest moss
That tries to cover roots and crumbling chalk
With gold, olive, and emerald, but in vain.
The children wear it. They have flattened the bank
On top, and silvered it between the moss
With the current of their feet, year after year.
But the road is houseless, and leads not to school.
To see a child is rare there, and the eye
Has but the road, the wood that overhangs
And underyawns it, and the path that looks
As if it led on to some legendary
Or fancied place where men have wished to go
And stay; till, sudden, it ends where the wood ends.