Submit Your Poems
Get Your Premium Membership



Best Famous R S Thomas Poems

Here is a collection of the all-time best famous R S Thomas poems. This is a select list of the best famous R S Thomas poetry. Reading, writing, and enjoying famous R S Thomas poetry (as well as classical and contemporary poems) is a great past time. These top poems are the best examples of R S Thomas poems.

Search for the best famous R S Thomas poems, articles about R S Thomas poems, poetry blogs, or anything else R S Thomas poem related using the PoetrySoup search engine at the top of the page.

See also: Best Member Poems

by R S Thomas | |

A Marriage

 We met
 under a shower
of bird-notes.
Fifty years passed, love's moment in a world in servitude to time.
She was young; I kissed with my eyes closed and opened them on her wrinkles.
`Come,' said death, choosing her as his partner for the last dance, And she, who in life had done everything with a bird's grace, opened her bill now for the shedding of one sigh no heavier than a feather.


by R S Thomas | |

The Dance

 She is young.
Have I the right Even to name her? Child, It is not love I offer Your quick limbs, your eyes; Only the barren homage Of an old man whom time Crucifies.
Take my hand A moment in the dance, Ignoring its sly pressure, The dry rut of age, And lead me under the boughs Of innocence.
Let me smell My youth again in your hair.


by R S Thomas | |

Childrens Song

 We live in our own world,
A world that is too small
For you to stoop and enter
Even on hands and knees,
The adult subterfuge.
And though you probe and pry With analytic eye, And eavesdrop all our talk With an amused look, You cannot find the centre Where we dance, where we play, Where life is still asleep Under the closed flower, Under the smooth shell Of eggs in the cupped nest That mock the faded blue Of your remoter heaven.


More great poems below...

by R S Thomas | |

Sorry

 Dear parents,
I forgive you my life,
Begotten in a drab town,
The intention was good;
Passing the street now,
I see still the remains of sunlight.
It was not the bone buckled; You gave me enough food To renew myself.
It was the mind's weight Kept me bent, as I grew tall.
It was not your fault.
What should have gone on, Arrow aimed from a tried bow At a tried target, has turned back, Wounding itself With questions you had not asked.


by R S Thomas | |

Poetry For Supper

 'Listen, now, verse should be as natural 
As the small tuber that feeds on muck 
And grows slowly from obtuse soil 
To the white flower of immortal beauty.
' 'Natural, hell! What was it Chaucer Said once about the long toil That goes like blood to the poem's making? Leave it to nature and the verse sprawls, Limp as bindweed, if it break at all Life's iron crust.
Man, you must sweat And rhyme your guts taut, if you'd build Your verse a ladder.
' 'You speak as though No sunlight ever surprised the mind Groping on its cloudy path.
' 'Sunlight's a thing that needs a window Before it enter a dark room.
Windows don't happen.
' So two old poets, Hunched at their beer in the low haze Of an inn parlour, while the talk ran Noisily by them, glib with prose.


by R S Thomas | |

A Blackbird Singing

 It seems wrong that out of this bird,
Black, bold, a suggestion of dark 
Places about it, there yet should come
Such rich music, as though the notes'
Ore were changed to a rare metal
At one touch of that bright bill.
You have heard it often, alone at your desk In a green April, your mind drawn Away from its work by sweet disturbance Of the mild evening outside your room.
A slow singer, but loading each phrase With history's overtones, love, joy And grief learned by his dark tribe In other orchards and passed on Instinctively as they are now, But fresh always with new tears.


by R S Thomas | |

Ninetieth Birthday

 You go up the long track
That will take a car, but is best walked
On slow foot, noting the lichen
That writes history on the page
Of the grey rock.
Trees are about you At first, but yield to the green bracken, The nightjars house: you can hear it spin On warm evenings; it is still now In the noonday heat, only the lesser Voices sound, blue-fly and gnat And the stream's whisper.
As the road climbs, You will pause for breath and the far sea's Signal will flash, till you turn again To the steep track, buttressed with cloud.
And there at the top that old woman, Born almost a century back In that stone farm, awaits your coming; Waits for the news of the lost village She thinks she knows, a place that exists In her memory only.
You bring her greeting And praise for having lasted so long With time's knife shaving the bone.
Yet no bridge joins her own World with yours, all you can do Is lean kindly across the abyss To hear words that were once wise.


by R S Thomas | |

An Old Man

 Looking upon this tree with its quaint pretension
Of holding the earth, a leveret, in its claws,
Or marking the texture of its living bark,
A grey sea wrinkled by the winds of years,
I understand whence this man's body comes,
In veins and fibres, the bare boughs of bone,
The trellised thicket, where the heart, that robin,
Greets with a song the seasons of the blood.
But where in meadow or mountain shall I match The individual accent of the speech That is the ear's familiar? To what sun attribute The honeyed warmness of his smile? To which of the deciduous brood is german The angel peeping from the latticed eye?


by R S Thomas | |

Childrens Song

 We live in our own world,
A world that is too small
For you to stoop and enter
Even on hands and knees,
The adult subterfuge.
And though you probe and pry With analytic eye, And eavesdrop all our talk With an amused look, You cannot find the centre Where we dance, where we play, Where life is still asleep Under the closed flower, Under the smooth shell Of eggs in the cupped nest That mock the faded blue Of your remoter heaven.


by R S Thomas | |

The Woman

 So beautiful--God himself quailed 
at her approach: the long body curved 
like the horizon.
Why had he made her so? How would it be, she said, leaning towards him, if instead of quarreling over it, we divided it between us? You can have all the credit for its invention, if you will leave the ordering of it to me.
He looked into her eyes and saw far down the bones of the generations that would navigate by those great stars, but the pull of it was too much.
Yes, he thought, give me their minds' tribute, and what they do with their bodies is not my concern.
He put his hand in his side and drew out the thorn for the letting of the ordained blood and touched her with it.
Go, he said.
They shall come to you for ever with their desire, and you shall bleed for them in return.


by R S Thomas | |

A Peasant

 Iago Prytherch his name, though, be it allowed,
Just an ordinary man of the bald Welsh hills,
Who pens a few sheep in a gap of cloud.
Docking mangels, chipping the green skin From the yellow bones with a half-witted grin Of satisfaction, or churning the crude earth To a stiff sea of clods that glint in the wind— So are his days spent, his spittled mirth Rarer than the sun that cracks the cheeks Of the gaunt sky perhaps once in a week.
And then at night see him fixed in his chair Motionless, except when he leans to gob in the fire.
There is something frightening in the vacancy of his mind.
His clothes, sour with years of sweat And animal contact, shock the refined, But affected, sense with their stark naturalness.
Yet this is your prototype, who, season by season Against siege of rain and the wind's attrition, Preserves his stock, an impregnable fortress Not to be stormed, even in death's confusion.
Remember him, then, for he, too, is a winner of wars, Enduring like a tree under the curious stars.


by R S Thomas | |

Welsh Landscape

 To live in Wales is to be conscious
At dusk of the spilled blood
That went into 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 with 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 fields' 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; And an impotent people, Sick with inbreeding, Worrying the carcase of an old song.
To live in Wales is to be conscious At dusk of the spilled blood That went into 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 with 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 fields' 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; And an impotent people, Sick with inbreeding, Worrying the carcase of an old song.


by R S Thomas | |

On The Farm

 There was Dai Puw.
He was no good.
They put him in the fields to dock swedes, And took the knife from him, when he came home At late evening with a grin Like the slash of a knife on his face.
There was Llew Puw, and he was no good.
Every evening after the ploughing With the big tractor he would sit in his chair, And stare into the tangled fire garden, Opening his slow lips like a snail.
There was Huw Puw, too.
What shall I say? I have heard him whistling in the hedges On and on, as though winter Would never again leave those fields, And all the trees were deformed.
And lastly there was the girl: Beauty under some spell of the beast.
Her pale face was the lantern By which they read in life's dark book The shrill sentence: God is love.


by R S Thomas | |

A Blackbird Singing

 It seems wrong that out of this bird,
Black, bold, a suggestion of dark 
Places about it, there yet should come
Such rich music, as though the notes'
Ore were changed to a rare metal
At one touch of that bright bill.
You have heard it often, alone at your desk In a green April, your mind drawn Away from its work by sweet disturbance Of the mild evening outside your room.
A slow singer, but loading each phrase With history's overtones, love, joy And grief learned by his dark tribe In other orchards and passed on Instinctively as they are now, But fresh always with new tears.


by R S Thomas | |

The Village

 Scarcely a street, too few houses
To merit the title; just a way between
The one tavern and the one shop
That leads nowhere and fails at the top
Of the short hill, eaten away
By long erosion of the green tide
Of grass creeping perpetually nearer 
This last outpost of time past.
So little happens; the black dog Cracking his fleas in the hot sun Is history.
Yet the girl who crosses From door to door moves to a scale Beyond the bland day's two dimensions.
Stay, then, village, for round you spins On a slow axis a world as vast And meaningful as any posed By great Plato's solitary mind.


by R S Thomas | |

The Village

 Scarcely a street, too few houses
To merit the title; just a way between
The one tavern and the one shop
That leads nowhere and fails at the top
Of the short hill, eaten away
By long erosion of the green tide
Of grass creeping perpetually nearer 
This last outpost of time past.
So little happens; the black dog Cracking his fleas in the hot sun Is history.
Yet the girl who crosses From door to door moves to a scale Beyond the bland day's two dimensions.
Stay, then, village, for round you spins On a slow axis a world as vast And meaningful as any posed By great Plato's solitary mind.


by R S Thomas | |

Album

 My father is dead.
I who am look at him who is not, as once he went looking for me in the woman who was.
There are pictures of the two of them, no need of a third, hand in hand, hearts willing to be one but not three.
What does it mean life? I am here I am there.
Look! Suddenly the young tool in their hands for hurting one another.
And the camera says: Smile; there is no wound time gives that is not bandaged by time.
And so they do the three of them at me who weep.


by R S Thomas | |

A Welsh Testament

 All right, I was Welsh.
Does it matter? I spoke a tongue that was passed on To me in the place I happened to be, A place huddled between grey walls Of cloud for at least half the year.
My word for heaven was not yours.
The word for hell had a sharp edge Put on it by the hand of the wind Honing, honing with a shrill sound Day and night.
Nothing that Glyn Dwr Knew was armour against the rain's Missiles.
What was descent from him? Even God had a Welsh name: He spoke to him in the old language; He was to have a peculiar care For the Welsh people.
History showed us He was too big to be nailed to the wall Of a stone chapel, yet still we crammed him Between the boards of a black book.
Yet men sought us despite this.
My high cheek-bones, my length of skull Drew them as to a rare portrait By a dead master.
I saw them stare From their long cars, as I passed knee-deep In ewes and wethers.
I saw them stand By the thorn hedges, watching me string The far flocks on a shrill whistle.
And always there was their eyes; strong Pressure on me: You are Welsh, they said; Speak to us so; keep your fields free Of the smell of petrol, the loud roar Of hot tractors; we must have peace And quietness.
Is a museum Peace? I asked.
Am I the keeper Of the heart's relics, blowing the dust In my own eyes? I am a man; I never wanted the drab role Life assigned me, an actor playing To the past's audience upon a stage Of earth and stone; the absurd label Of birth, of race hanging askew About my shoulders.
I was in prison Until you came; your voice was a key Turning in the enormous lock Of hopelessness.
Did the door open To let me out or yourselves in?


by R S Thomas | |

Death Of A Poet

 Laid now on his smooth bed
For the last time, watching dully
Through heavy eyelids the day's colour
Widow the sky, what can he say
Worthy of record, the books all open,
Pens ready, the faces, sad,
Waiting gravely for the tired lips
To move once -- what can he say?

His tongue wrestles to force one word
Past the thick phlegm; no speech, no phrases
For the day's news, just the one word ‘sorry';
Sorry for the lies, for the long failure
In the poet's war; that he preferred 
The easier rhythms of the heart 
To the mind's scansion; that now he dies
Intestate, having nothing to leave
But a few songs, cold as stones
In the thin hands that asked for bread.


by R S Thomas | |

Album

 My father is dead.
I who am look at him who is not, as once he went looking for me in the woman who was.
There are pictures of the two of them, no need of a third, hand in hand, hearts willing to be one but not three.
What does it mean life? I am here I am there.
Look! Suddenly the young tool in their hands for hurting one another.
And the camera says: Smile; there is no wound time gives that is not bandaged by time.
And so they do the three of them at me who weep.


by R S Thomas | |

Chapel Deacon

 Who put that crease in your soul,
Davies, ready this fine morning
For the staid chapel, where the Book's frown
Sobers the sunlight? Who taught you to pray
And scheme at once, your eyes turning
Skyward, while your swift mind weighs
Your heifer's chances in the next town's
Fair on Thursday? Are your heart's coals
Kindled for God, or is the burning
Of your lean cheeks because you sit
Too near that girl's smouldering gaze?
Tell me, Davies, for the faint breeze
From heaven freshens and I roll in it,
Who taught you your deft poise?