Learn More

Ronald Stuart Thomas

(1913 - 2000 / Cardiff / Wales)

A Welsh Testament


All right, I was Welsh. Does it matter?
I spoke a tongue that was passed on
To me in the place I happened to be,
A place huddled between grey walls
Of cloud for at least half the year.
My word for heaven was not yours.
The word for hell had a sharp edge
Put on it by the hand of the wind
Honing, honing with a shrill sound
Day and night. Nothing that Glyn Dwr
Knew was armour against the rain's
Missiles. What was descent from him?

Even God had a Welsh name:
He spoke to him in the old language;
He was to have a peculiar care
For the Welsh people. History showed us
He was too big to be nailed to the wall
Of a stone chapel, yet still we crammed him
Between the boards of a black book.

Yet men sought us despite this.
My high cheek-bones, my length of skull
Drew them as to a rare portrait
By a dead master. I saw them stare
From their long cars, as I passed knee-deep
In ewes and wethers. I saw them stand
By the thorn hedges, watching me string
The far flocks on a shrill whistle.
And always there was their eyes; strong
Pressure on me: You are Welsh, they said;
Speak to us so; keep your fields free
Of the smell of petrol, the loud roar
Of hot tractors; we must have peace
And quietness.

Is a museum
Peace? I asked. Am I the keeper
Of the heart's relics, blowing the dust
In my own eyes? I am a man;
I never wanted the drab role
Life assigned me, an actor playing
To the past's audience upon a stage
Of earth and stone; the absurd label
Of birth, of race hanging askew
About my shoulders. I was in prison
Until you came; your voice was a key
Turning in the enormous lock
Of hopelessness. Did the door open
To let me out or yourselves in?


Submitted by Andrew Mayers

Submitted: Monday, January 13, 2003

Do you like this poem?
0 person liked.
0 person did not like.

Read poems about / on: history, peace, birth, rain, people, heaven, wind

Read this poem in other languages

This poem has not been translated into any other language yet.

I would like to translate this poem »

word flags

What do you think this poem is about?

Comments about this poem (A Welsh Testament by Ronald Stuart Thomas )

Enter the verification code :

  • Rookie Ian Fraser (11/27/2011 12:46:00 AM)

    I can only assume those who voted 6 didn't understand this- it's not for Junior High School. Maybe if the writer had been a negro it might have helped. Full of bitter irony but still with the vestiges of humor. Lord knows what the ending means but it is clear that the well meaning liberals have no idea what kind of Pandora's box they are awakening when they speak of racial integration. (Report) Reply

Read all 1 comments »

Trending Poets

Trending Poems

  1. A Cloud In Trousers - part I, Vladimir Vladimirovich Mayak ..
  2. The Road Not Taken, Robert Frost
  3. Do Not Go Gentle Into That Good Night, Dylan Thomas
  4. Fire and Ice, Robert Frost
  5. If You Forget Me, Pablo Neruda
  6. Stopping by Woods on a Snowy Evening, Robert Frost
  7. Dreams, Langston Hughes
  8. No Man Is An Island, John Donne
  9. So Let Us Love, Edmund Spenser
  10. Nothing Gold Can Stay, Robert Frost

Poem of the Day

poet Emily Jane Brontë

I am the only being whose doom
No tongue would ask no eye would mourn
I never caused a thought of gloom
A smile of joy since I was born

In secret pleasure - secret tears
...... Read complete »

   

New Poems

  1. Hopeless Romantic, Shane Clawson
  2. Firebird Sunset, Salvatore Ala
  3. Flicker, Jessica Paige Davies
  4. I will always return, Jessica Paige Davies
  5. They are my horses, Jessica Paige Davies
  6. HOW THEY ALL FALL, Terry Collett
  7. Caucus at the Parking Meter, Donal Mahoney
  8. A Small Something, Jessica Paige Davies
  9. Shrouded, Jessica Paige Davies
  10. I Live, Tanja Henderson
[Hata Bildir]