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R S Thomas Biography | Poet

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R S Thomas was a Welsh poet and Anglican priest who is known for his deeply spiritual and religious poetry. However, his journey towards spirituality was not a straightforward one. In fact, Thomas started off as an atheist and it was through a series of experiences and encounters that he eventually found his way to a deep and profound spirituality. In this article, we will explore Thomas' biographical journey from atheism to spirituality and the key moments that shaped his spiritual quest.

Early Life and Education

R S Thomas was born in Cardiff, Wales in 1913. He grew up in a non-religious household and was not exposed to any form of spirituality or religion during his childhood. Thomas' father was a sea captain and his mother was a housewife. He attended University College of North Wales, Bangor, where he studied classics and theology. It was during his time at university that Thomas began to question his beliefs and started to lean towards atheism.

The Influence of World War II

During World War II, Thomas served as a chaplain in the Royal Air Force. This experience had a profound impact on him and he witnessed the horrors of war and the fragility of human life. This experience led him to question the existence of a loving and all-powerful God, and he became even more convinced of his atheism.

Encounter with a Dying Miner

One of the key moments in Thomas' journey towards spirituality was an encounter with a dying miner. While serving as a parish priest in Manafon, Thomas was called to the bedside of a dying miner. The miner, who was in great pain, asked Thomas to pray for him. Thomas, who was still an atheist at the time, was taken aback by this request but decided to pray for the miner. This experience had a profound impact on Thomas and he began to question his beliefs once again.

Spiritual Awakening

After the encounter with the dying miner, Thomas' spiritual journey took a turn. He began to explore different forms of spirituality and eventually found his way to Christianity. In 1978, he was ordained as an Anglican priest and his poetry began to reflect his deep and profound spirituality. Thomas' poetry often explores themes of faith, doubt, and the search for meaning in life.


R S Thomas' journey from atheism to spirituality is a testament to the power of personal experiences and encounters in shaping one's beliefs. His poetry continues to inspire and challenge readers to explore their own spiritual journeys. Thomas' legacy lives on through his powerful and thought-provoking words, which continue to resonate with readers around the world.

Thomas' biographical journey from atheism to spirituality is a fascinating and inspiring one. It serves as a reminder that our beliefs and perspectives can evolve and change over time, and that our spiritual journeys are unique and personal.

R S Thomas: Poems | Best Poems | Short Poems | Quotes

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Ronald Stuart Thomas (29 March 1913 – 25 September 2000), published as R. S. Thomas, was a Welsh poet and Anglican priest who was noted for his nationalism, spirituality and deep dislike of the anglicisation of Wales. John Betjeman, in his 1955 introduction to Song at the Year's Turning, the first collection of Thomas’s poetry to be produced by a major publisher, predicted that Thomas would be remembered long after he himself was forgotten. M. Wynn Thomas said: "He was the Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn of Wales because he was such a troubler of the Welsh conscience. He was one of the major English language and European poets of the 20th century." [ citation needed ]

R. S. Thomas: Poems | Best Poems | Short Poems | Quotes