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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.

Poem by R S Thomas
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