In Pursuit of Spring

In Pursuit of Spring by Edward Thomas (this edition: Little Toller Books, 2017)

Introduced by Anne Brichto of Addyman Books, Hay-on-Wye 

#booksellersbreakfast series

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One hundred years ago, poet Edward Thomas was killed in action on Easter Monday 9, April 1917 at Arras. He was 39 and left a wife and three children. As a mature married man he had not been required to enlist but he felt he ought and this country one of its best and most lyrical poets of the early 20th Century.

I have come to the borders of sleep,
The unfathomable deep
Forest where all must lose
Their way, however straight,
Or winding, soon or late;
They cannot choose. 


Here loves ends,
Despair, ambition ends;
All pleasure and all trouble,
Although most sweet or bitter,
Here ends in sleep that is sweeter
Than tasks more noble. 


There is not any book
Or face of dearest look
That I would not turn from now
To go into the unknown
I must enter,and leave, alone,
I know not how. 


The tall forest towers;
It’s cloudy foliage lowers
Ahead, shelf above shelf;
Its silence I hear and obey
That I may lose my way
And myself. 


This is four of the five verses of Lights Out, a poem I want to be read at my funeral. Please read about Edward Thomas. He is possibly the best neglected poet of Britain. He also wrote rather wonderful prose and criticism and was a friend of Robert Frost. This lovely new edition of In Pursuit of Spring is produced by Little Toller Books and is the first to include photos Thomas took on this journey. We have just had in a collection of Thomas’s works at Addyman Books, so please contact us for details.


I am eating a mango and banana smoothie with edible flowers, pomegranate and sesame seeds on top. Plus a jam donut to celebrate buns again after Passover.

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Read more about this edition of In Pursuit of Spring, and see some of the original photos in this article from The Guardian: Edward Thomas’s In Pursuit of Spring – historic photo locations revisited

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Below: front cover and endpapers from the first edition of In Pursuit of Spring by Edward Thomas, published by Thomas Nelson & Sons in 1914.

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