And to one God says: Come
to me by numbers and
figures; see my beauty
in the angles between
stars, in the equations
of my kingdom. Bring
your lenses to the worship
of my dimensions: far
out and far in, there
is always more of me
in proportion. And to another:
I am the bush burning
at the centre of
your existence; you must put
your knowledge off and come
to me with your mind
bare. And to this one
he says: Because of
your high stomach, the bleakness
of your emotions, I
will come to you in the simplest
things, in the body
of a man hung on a tall
tree you have converted to
timber and you shall not know me.

— R. S. Thomas, Laboratories of the Spirit


Anonymous said…
Hi DW,

I see you're an R.S. Thomas fan, poet of the hidden God. Why am I not surprised?

A couple of years ago I went to a lecture on Thomas given by the Archbishop of Wales Barry Morgan (Rowan's successor). The vote of thanks was given by a professor of English at Swansea, a friend of Thomas and (I believe) an executor of his work. Apparently there are a lot of unpublished poems about. He read one. I furiously copied it down. Here it is. (Don't tell anyone where you got it from! :)


Easter. The grave clothes of winter
are still here, but the sepulchre
is empty. A messenger
from the tomb tells us
how a stone has been rolled
from the mind, and a tree lightens
the darkness with its blossom.
There are travellers upon the road
who have heard music blown
from a bare bough, and a child
tells how the accident
of last year, a machine stranded
beside the way for lack
of petrol, is crowned with flowers.
That is one of my favorites by R.S., and you can find it in the paperback "Selected Poems" which was published in 2004. R.S. Thomas is my favorite poet, hands-down. He is among a group of poets -- including George Herbert, Gerard Manley Hopkins, T.S. Eliot, Denise Levertov, W.H. Auden, and Czeslaw Milosz -- who I read both for their literary greatness as well as for spiritual renewal and provocation. I will post a number of other poems by him (and the others) in the future.
Bethany Pledge said…
I always loved this one. Great to talk to you the other night -- this poem reminds me of England, riding with you on the bus discussing R.S. Thomas and your future dissertation. Good times. :)