R S Thomas

R_S_Thomas.jpg (66402 bytes)

1913~2000

RS Thomas the well known anglo welsh poet was priest of Llanfaelrhys and after retiring in 1978 lived in Sarn y Plas. He wrote twenty volumes of poetry about faith, nature and the welsh landscape and itís characters. He was outspoken and ardent in his passion for the welsh language, he once described himself as being a "self confessed republican with outspoken views". Another of his passions was bird watching and we would see him daily binoculars in hand, sometimes heíd greet us other times not, such must be the way of great thinkers and poets, whatever it was a great privelage to have known one of the best if not the best poet of the twentieth century.

Here are three of his poems that may inspire you to more:

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WELSH LANDSCAPE

To live in Wales is to be conscious

At dusk of the spilled blood

That went to the making of the wild sky.

Dyeing the immaculate rivers

In all their courses.

It is to be aware

Above the noisy tractor

And hum of the machine

Of strife in the strung woods

Vibrant of sped arrows.

You cannot live in the present

At least not in Wales.

There is the language for instance

The soft consonants

Strange to the ear.

There are cries in the dark at night

As owls answer the moon.

And thick ambush of shadows

Hushed at the field corners.

There is no present in Wales

And no future,

There is only the past

Brittle with relics

Wind bitten towers and castles

With sham ghosts,

Mouldering quarries and mines,

An impotent people

Sick with inbreeding

Worrying the carcass of an old song,

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THE WORD

A pen appeared, and god said

"Write what it is to be

man" And my hand hovered

long over the page

until there, like footprints

of the lost traveller, letters

took shape on the pageís

blankness and I spelled out

the word "lonely" And my hand moved

to erase it, but the voices

of all those waiting at lifeís

window cried out loud" It is true.

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THE SMALL WINDOW

In Wales there are jewels

To gather, but with the eye

Only, a hill lights up

Suddenly, a field trembles

With colour and goes out

In itís turn , in one day

You can witness the extent

Of the spectrum and grow rich

With looking. Have care

The wealth is for the few

And chosen. Those who crowd

A small window dirty it

With their breathing, though sublime

And inexhaustible the view.

 

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