The First World War was already in its second year when Edward Thomas wrote this little piece of Englishness;
Edward Thomas, ‘The Mill-Pond’
The sun blazed while the thunder yet
Added a boom:
A wagtail flickered bright over
The mill-pond’s gloom:
Less than the cooing in the alder
Isles of the pool
Sounded the thunder through that plunge
Of waters cool.
Scared starlings on the aspen tip
Past the black mill
Outchattered the stream and the next roar
Far on the hill.
As my feet dangling teased the foam
That slid below
A girl came out. ‘Take care!’ she said—
She startled me, standing quite close
Dressed all in white:
Ages ago I was angry till
She passed from sight.
Then the storm burst, and as I crouched
To shelter, how
Beautiful and kind, too, she seemed,
As she does now!