The Luck of Edward Thomas

The Luck of Edward Thomas

Thomas was twenty
when he wished
he’d never been born.
The old dread
can be read between
his last lines to Helen:
snow in April, the village
in ruins, larks
making love in the hedges.

Easter Monday
his heart’s stopped
not by a shell
that leaves no mark,
a myth cooked up
to spare Helen
the image of his body
broken, a bullet
ripping clean through
his chest.

In “An Old Song,”
he wrote:
I’ve thrown away
a chance to fight
a gamekeeper.

Thomas told Frost
he’d prove himself
by going into danger.
would test his courage.
Frost mourns him
like a brother,
remembers what he said
which did no good:
You don’t have to go to war.