From The Diary of Edward Thomas 1 January – 8 April 1917 (1977). Edward Thomas made this diary entry about six weeks before his death in action on the Western Front.
23 [February 1917]
Chaffinch sang once. Another dull cold day. Inspected stables, checked inventory of new billet for men in Rue Jeanne d’Arc, went with Colonel round 244, 141 and 234 positions and O.P. in Achicourt. Afternoon maps. Partridges twanging in fields. Flooded fields by stream between the 2 sides of Achicourt. ruined churches, churchyard and railway. Sordid ruin of Estaminet with carpenter’s shop over it in Rue Jeanne d’Arc — wet, mortar, litter, almanacs, bottles, broken glass, damp beds, dirty paper, knife, crucifix, statuette, old chairs. Our cat moves with the Group wherever it goes, but inspects new house inside and out, windows, fireplace etc. Paid the Pool gunners (scrapings from several batteries doing odd jobs here). 2 owls in garden at 6. The shelling must have slaughtered many jackdaws but has made home for many more. Finished [Robert] Frost’s ‘Mountain Interval’. Wrote to Frost. A quiet still evening. Rubin brought over letters from Helen [Thomas, his wife] and Oscar [Thomas, his brother].