On Easter Monday, April 9, 1917, at 7:36 A.M., 2nd Lieutenant Philip Edward Thomas, of the Royal Garrison Artillery, was killed by a German shell at Arras. For the world at large, there was nothing to connect this sadly commonplace addition to the war’s death toll with the publication, the previous December, of Six Poems by “Edward Eastaway,” whose larger collection, Poems, appeared posthumously, in October, under the same pseudonym. Only with Last Poems (1918) was it revealed that Edward Eastaway and Edward Thomas were the same person, whose death at the age of thirty-nine was a grievous loss to English letters. One of the last poems he wrote, “Lights Out,” is spoken by someone on “the borders of sleep,” imaged as a healing oblivion, a forest (one of Thomas’s recurring symbols) which he gladly enters:


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