The Bright Field

by Richard on April 26, 2006

I’m not usually much of a lad for poems and stuff, but I came across this one by R.S. Thomas today and was very taken with it.

The Bright Field

I have seen the sun break through
to illuminate a small field
for a while, and gone my way
and forgotten it. But that was the pearl
of great price, the one field that had
treasure in it. I realize now
that I must give all that I have
to possess it. Life is not hurrying

on to a receeding future, nor hankering after
an imagined past. It is the turning
aside like Moses to the miracle
of the lit bush, to a brightness
that seemed as transitory as your youth
once, but is the eternity that awaits you.

{ 5 comments… read them below or add one }


Beth 04.28.06 at 7:26 pm

Well then, Richard, I have a gift for you…


Moments of great calm,
Kneeling before an altar
Of wood in a stone church
In summer, waiting for the God
To speak; the air a staircase
For silence; the sun’s light
Ringing me, as though I acted
A great role. And the audiences
Still; all that close throng
Of spirits waiting, as I,
For the message.
Prompt me, God;
But not yet. When I speak,
Though it be you who speak
Through me, something is lost.
The meaning is in the waiting.

R. S. Thomas


Richard 04.28.06 at 10:01 pm

Why, thank you.

Keep this up, I could end up cultured!


Kim 04.29.06 at 2:02 am

My trump card - an unpublished RST - entitled “Resurrection”:

Easter. The grave clothes of winter
are still here, but the sepulchre
is empty. A messenger
from the tomb tells us
how a stone has beeen rolled
from the mind, and a tree lightens
the darkness with its blossom.
There are travellers upon the road
who have heard the music blown
from a bare bough, and a child
tells how the accident
of last year, a machine stranded
beside the way for lack
of petrol, is crowned with flowers.


Beth 04.29.06 at 6:28 pm

Kimmy - that’s gorgeous! In return, have some George Barker:

Not in the poet is the poem or
even the poetry. It is hiding behind
a broken wall or a geranium
or walking around pretending to be blind
seeking a home that it cannot find.

Into the ego that has emptied out
everything except its abstract being
and left only a shell, the poem then
moves silently, foreseeing
its purpose is to haunt the shell like singing.


petroc.malcolm 04.30.11 at 9:13 am

I love all the poems of RS Thomas especially the two you have quoted.

There’s a very insightful passage in Shakespeare’s ‘As you Like it’

“…And this our life exempt from public haunt,
Finds tongues in trees, books in the running brooks,
Sermons in stones, and good in every thing.
I would not change it.

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