House and Man

By Edward Thomas 1878–1917 Edward Thomas
One hour: as dim he and his house now look
As a reflection in a rippling brook,
While I remember him; but first, his house.
Empty it sounded. It was dark with forest boughs
That brushed the walls and made the mossy tiles
Part of the squirrels’ track. In all those miles
Of forest silence and forest murmur, only
One house—“Lonely!” he said, “I wish it were lonely”—
Which the trees looked upon from every side,
And that was his.

                          He waved good-bye to hide
A sigh that he converted to a laugh.
He seemed to hang rather than stand there, half
Ghost-like, half like a beggar’s rag, clean wrung
And useless on the brier where it has hung
Long years a-washing by sun and wind and rain.

But why I call back man and house again
Is that now on a beech-tree’s tip I see
As then I saw—I at the gate, and he
In the house darkness,—a magpie veering about,
A magpie like a weathercock in doubt.

Source: Last Poems (1918)

Discover this poem’s context and related poetry, articles, and media.

Poet Edward Thomas 1878–1917

POET’S REGION England

SCHOOL / PERIOD Georgian

Subjects Nature, Trees & Flowers, Animals

Poetic Terms Rhymed Stanza

 Edward  Thomas

Biography

Such prominent critics and authors as Walter de la Mare, Aldous Huxley, Peter SacksSeamus Heaney, and Edna Longley have called Edward Thomas one of England's most important poets. Since 2000, much serious consideration has been given to Thomas's work. Most critics would agree with Andrew Motion, who states that Thomas occupies "a crucial place in the development of twentieth-century poetry" for introducing a modern . . .

Continue reading this biography

Poem Categorization

SUBJECT Nature, Trees & Flowers, Animals

POET’S REGION England

SCHOOL / PERIOD Georgian

Poetic Terms Rhymed Stanza

Report a problem with this poem

Originally appeared in Poetry magazine.

This poem has learning resources.

This poem is good for children.

This poem has related video.

This poem has related audio.