I once regularly passed through the village of Eynsford in Kent, on the road you can just see here in front of the church. It's not a town, but it's this bridge and ford over the River Darent that always comes to mind when I read Edward Thomas's poem that was later called The Watchers. There's only one more verse after the one I quote here, and Thomas wrote it in 1916, the year before his untimely death just after the Battle of Arras. The picture stands out in a book entitled This England: An Appreciation by A.J.Cummings, the political editor of the News Chronicle. Cummings is writing in 1944, demonstrating to a population depressed by war that the country was still functioning, much as Thomas did in his poetry. The photographer is sadly anonymous, but there are many pleasures to be had from this image of a dull summer's afternoon. Perhaps there was also a distant roll of thunder. I leave it to the mechanically minded to identify the tractor, and perhaps someone will also know the rest of the name on the trailer. Is it a farm or the manufacturer? And what's that old boy got in his sack? Couple of rats for tea I expect.
Evergreen Review: Literary legacy
2 days ago