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Talk about Thomas

24 January 2014

WHO better to talk about a poet - especially a Welsh poet - than the former Archbishop of Canterbury Lord Williams? Now Master of Magdalene College, Cambridge, he was invited to Steep Church, in Portsmouth diocese, where Edward Thomas once lived.

He was there to dedicate a replacement window in memory of the poet, who died at the battle of Arras on Easter Monday 1917 - not in the actual battle, but when he stood up to light a pipe, and was caught in a concussive blast wave from one of the last shells fired. Perhaps the best known of his poems is the haunting vision of the empty railway platform at Adlestrop.

About 180 people at Steep heard Lord Williams talk about Thomas's poetry, and its influence on his own life and poetry, and afterwards there was a reception in the hall at Steep Primary School. Among the many he spoke to was Jenny Sandys (left), who runs a retreat house in the parish.

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