"Adlestrop" is one of the most famous of Edward Thomas's poems. Its context has certainly had a significant impact on its meaning and the effect it has on readers, both because of how it has been anthologized and because of the circumstances of Thomas's life.
The poem focuses on when, for a minute that Thomas's train was stopped in the Gloucestershire village of Adlestrop in "late June" of 1914, the world felt completely still and at peace. This has been rendered, in retrospect, far more bittersweet and wrenching because this was a moment of peace which fell just before World War 1 broke out—and because Thomas himself was killed in action in 1917. To the modern reader, then, this poem is about a final calm before a great storm.
Thomas, of course, could not have predicted this. But he certainly made other conscious choices to affect the reader. The poem opens with the word "Yes," lending the poem a certain intimacy, as if the speaker is answering a question and is involved in a conversation with the reader. The poem also uses enjambment (when phrases and sentences run over more than one line) to create a more naturalistic impression, again suggesting conversation. Thomas's poem has a dreamlike quality because of its rhyme scheme, which is basic ABCB across the stanzas but which does not necessarily rely upon true rhyme. "Mistier" does not quite rhyme with "Gloucestershire," but the impression is there—enough to lend a sense of completion to the poem.
Thomas also uses very vivid auditory and sensory details to evoke a sense of time and place. The afternoon was one "of heat" and obviously so quiet that the tiniest sounds could be heard clearly: "The steam hissed. Someone cleared his throat." Through the use of auditory imagery, Thomas manages to emphasize the absolute quietude of the scene.