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

Go Back

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 |

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 |

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 |

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 |

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 |

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 |

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 |

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 |

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 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.