R S Thomas, ‘Lore’

One of my favorite poems of all time 🙂

Selected Tales

‘Lore’

Job Davies, eighty-five
Winters old, and still alive
After the slow poison
And treachery of the seasons.

Miserable? Kick my arse!
It needs more than the rain’s hearse,
Wind-drawn to pull me off
The great perch of my laugh.

What’s living but courage?
Paunch full of hot porridge
Nerves strengthened with tea,
Peat-black, dawn found me

Mowing where the grass grew,
Bearded with golden dew.
Rhythm of the long scythe
Kept this tall frame lithe

What to do? Stay green.
Never mind the machine,
Whose fuel is human souls
Live large, man, and dream small.

R.S. Thomas (1913 – 2000) was an anglo-Welsh poet. He was an ordained in the Anglican Church and spent most of his life in rural North Wales. His poems are full of tensions: faith v. doubt, welsh nationalism v. anger at Wales’s own inability to preserve its culture, rural life v. city life, modernity…

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The stories that you tell, the words that you use and refine, the characters you try to give life to are merely tools with which you circle around the elusive, unnamed, shapeless thing that belongs to you alone, and which nevertheless is a sort of key to all the doors, the real reason that you spend so much of your life sitting at a table tapping away, filing pages. The question in every story is the same: is this the right story to seize what lies silent in my depths, that living thing which if captured, spreads through all the pages and gives them life?

Now that that organism has, for good or ill, its own self-sufficient equilibrium, why should I entrust myself to the media? Why continue to mix its breath with mine? I have a well-founded fear that the media, which, because of its current nature, that is, lacking a true vocation for "public interest," would be inclined, carelessly, to restore a private quality to an object that originated precisely to give a less circumscribed meaning to individual experience.