Benedictus from R.S. Thomas (b. 29 March 1913)

by Kim on March 28, 2012

Blessed be the starved womb
and the replete womb.

Blessed the slug in the dew
and the butterfly among the ash-cans.

Blessed the mind that brings forth good and bad
and the hand that exonerates it.

Blessed be the adder among its jewels
and the child ignorant of how love must pay.

Blessed the hare who, in a round
world, keeps the tortoise in sight.

Blessed the cross warning: No through road,
and that other Cross with its arms out pointing both ways.

Blessed the woman who is amused
at Adam feeling for his lost rib.

Blessed the clock with its hands over its face
pretending it is midday, when it is midnight.

Blessed be the far side of the Cross and the back
of the mirror, that they are concealed from us.

R.S. Thomas, Benedictus, from “Mass for Hard Times”, Mass for Hard Times (Newcastle upon Tyne: Bloodaxe Books, 1992), p. 14.

They set up their decoy
in the Hebrew sunlight. What
for? Did they expect
death to come sooner
to disprove his claim
to be God’s son? Who
can shoot down God?
Darkness arrived at
midday, the shadow
of whose wing? The blood
ticked from the cross, but it was not
their time it kept. It was no
time at all, but the accompaniment
to a face staring,
as over twenty centuries
it has stared, from unfathomable
darkness into unfathomable light.

R.S. Thomas, from “Crucifixion”, Counterpoint (Newcastle upon Tyne: Bloodaxe Books, 1990), p. 40.

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Pam 03.29.12 at 1:40 am

Emma Jones was born (1977) and raised in Sydney. Jones went to Cambridge thinking she would become an academic, to support her vocation as a poet. But by the time she was finishing her PhD she realised that “being an academic would not be good for my poetry”. It would use up a lot of energy and concentration and she did not want to be “spending all day thinking and talking about poetry in an academic way”.

“Waking” by Emma Jones

Here it is again, light hoisting its terrible bells,
As though a world might wake up with it -

The moon shuts its eye. Down in the street
the same trolley is playing the pavestones.

For twenty-five years I’ve been waking
this way. There was one morning

when my mother woke and felt a twitch
inside, like the shifting of curtains.

She woke and so did I. I was like a bird
beating. She had no time for anaesthetic.

We just rolled from each other like indecent genies.
Even the nurses were startled.

Now she says the world and I were eager
from the start. But I was only waking.

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