One famous casualty of the Battle of Arras, fought at Easter, was the talented Country writer and poet Edward Thomas.
The Battle of Arras is being commemorated by centenary events hosted by the Commonwealth War Graves commission. http://blog.cwgc.org/arras/
He was killed “by shellfire” (see the Wikipedia entry) at Easter during the first day of the Battle of Arras 9 April 1917, two years after writing this Easter poem:
In Memoriam (Easter, 1915)
The flowers left thick at nightfall in the wood
This Eastertide call into mind the men,
Now far from home, who, with their sweethearts, should
Have gathered them and will do never again.
since discovering his writing as a schoolboy, I have greatly admired Edward Thomas’ prose writings and travel journals, walking across Edwardian England. This rich prose then tumbled into or was restrained into verse, famously his nature and railway poem Adlestrop and probably my favourite, As the Team’s Head Brass (see link below)
Simple, symbolic, restrained, melancholy, echoing with loss and words not said, I find “As The Teams Head Brass” almost a poem of the Forties or WWII like the poem group by Henry Reed which includes “Naming Of Parts”.
Pick out one of his poems today, enjoy it and read it in his memory.
Edward Thomas was one of a generation of writers including Ivor Gurney and more famous poets whose lives were ended or greatly affected by the First World War. As with all of them, who knows what fine nature writing they may have gone on to produce, but for disruption, depression and death caused by the war.
It is more than 25 years since I visited the Dymock area associated with Thomas and other prewar writers:
Edward Thomas – Celebrated and remembered 100 years on from the day of his death 9 April 1917.
Blogposted by Mark Norris, World War Zoo Gardens Project 9 April 2017.