Pilgrimpace's Blog


uncollected poems
April 20, 2013, 10:03 pm
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While I’ve been poorly an Easter present arrived: Uncollected Poems by RS Thomas.

RS Thomas Uncollected Poems ed Tony Brown & Jason Walford Davies_bach

I’ve been enjoying dipping in as I feel able.  There is an excellent review by Alister Wedderburn in Standpoint that you can read here.  He makes an excellent point that it is important to remember that, at heart, Thomas is writing from positive insights and impulses rather than suspicion and rejection:

to focus on Thomas’s rejection of consumerism, secularism and technological progressivism is to ignore the positive impulses that provoked these suspicions: a love of mankind in the raw, a deep sense of respect for the wild, living world in which he made his way and an understanding of God as an agent giving clarity to both — albeit a clarity that could only stutteringly be perceived. Thomas’s struggle with these three compass-points and his understanding of the impossibility of equilibrium between them is the essence of his verse, a profound poetry that transcends his supposedly ogreish demeanour.

I love a late poem In Memory of Ted Hughes, illuminating deep similarities between the two poets and speaking of the essential tasks of poetry.  It ends:

He bends now

over a darker river, making

his cast times out of mind,

for the big poem, bigger than the last.

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