Ronald Stuart Thomas

Ronald Stuart Thomas Poems

You go up the long track
That will take a car, but is best walked
On slow foot, noting the lichen
That writes history on the page
...

2.

Evans? Yes, many a time
I came down his bare flight
Of stairs into the gaunt kitchen
With its wood fire, where crickets sang
...

It seems wrong that out of this bird,
Black, bold, a suggestion of dark
Places about it, there yet should come
Such rich music, as though the notes'
...

We live in our own world,
A world that is too small
For you to stoop and enter
Even on hands and knees,
...

It will not always be like this,
The air windless, a few last
Leaves adding their decoration
To the trees’ shoulders, braiding the cuffs
...

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
...

Laid now on his smooth bed
For the last time, watching dully
Through heavy eyelids the day's colour
Widow the sky, what can he say
...

Iago Prytherch his name, though, be it allowed,
Just an ordinary man of the bald Welsh hills,
Who pens a few sheep in a gap of cloud.
Docking mangels, chipping the green skin
...

Who said to the trout,
You shall die on Good Friday
To be food for a man
And his pretty lady?
...

10.

I am a man now.
Pass your hand over my brow.
You can feel the place where the brains grow.
...

To live in Wales is to be conscious
At dusk of the spilled blood
That went into the making of the wild sky,
Dyeing the immaculate rivers
...

It is a matter of a black cat
On a bare cliff top in March
Whose eyes anticipate
The gorse petals;
...

There was Dai Puw. He was no good.
They put him in the fields to dock swedes,
And took the knife from him, when he came home
At late evening with a grin
...

Who put that crease in your soul,
Davies, ready this fine morning
For the staid chapel, where the Book's frown
Sobers the sunlight? Who taught you to pray
...

15.

I praise you because
you are artist and scientist
in one. When I am somewhat
fearful of your power,
...

One night of tempest I arose and went
Along the Menai shore on dreaming bent;
The wind was strong, and savage swung the tide,
And the waves blustered on Caernarfon side.
...

We've nothing vast to offer you, no deserts
Except the waste of thought
Forming from mind erosion;
No canyons where the pterodactyl's wing
...

18.

The old man comes out on the hill
and looks down to recall earlier days
in the valley. He sees the stream shine,
the church stand, hears the litter of
...

Looking upon this tree with its quaint pretension
Of holding the earth, a leveret, in its claws,
Or marking the texture of its living bark,
A grey sea wrinkled by the winds of years,
...

20.

And this was a civilization
That came to nothing--he spurned with his toe
The slave-coloured dust. We breathed it in
Thankfully, oxygen to our culture.
...

Ronald Stuart Thomas Biography

Ronald Stuart Thomas was born in Cardiff in 1913, the son of a sea captain. He was educated at University College of North Wales and later undertook theological training at St Michael's College in Cardiff. He was ordained as an Anglican priest in 1936. During his time as a rector he began to write poetry and verse. His writing career continued for fifty years during which time he produced twenty volumes of poetry and was nominated for a Nobel prize and awarded the Queen's Gold Medal for Poetry. Whilst religion, understandably, was one of the major themes of his work, he also wrote about nature and about Welsh history. Thomas was fervent and often outspoken Welsh patriot and even wrote his autobiography Nab (Nobody - 1985) in Welsh. Thomas enjoyed working in the countryside and spent his whole time as a clergyman working in rural parishes. He retired in 1978. His first wife Elsi, by whom he had a son, died in 1991 after 51 years of marriage. He later married his second wife, Betty, who was with him until his death. He died at the age of 87 n 25th September 2000. Whilst still remembered for his Welsh republican views, it is for his religious poetry that he is still held in high regard. Of his work, he said: "My chief aim is to make a poem . You make it for yourself firstly, and then if other people want to join in... then there we are." His Collected Poems was published in 1993 and is still available today.)

The Best Poem Of Ronald Stuart Thomas

Ninetieth Birthday

You go up the long track
That will take a car, but is best walked
On slow foot, noting the lichen
That writes history on the page
Of the grey rock. Trees are about you
At first, but yield to the green bracken,
The nightjars house: you can hear it spin
On warm evenings; it is still now
In the noonday heat, only the lesser
Voices sound, blue-fly and gnat
And the stream's whisper. As the road climbs,
You will pause for breath and the far sea's
Signal will flash, till you turn again
To the steep track, buttressed with cloud.

And there at the top that old woman,
Born almost a century back
In that stone farm, awaits your coming;
Waits for the news of the lost village
She thinks she knows, a place that exists
In her memory only.
You bring her greeting
And praise for having lasted so long
With time's knife shaving the bone.
Yet no bridge joins her own
World with yours, all you can do
Is lean kindly across the abyss
To hear words that were once wise.


Submitted by Andrew Mayers

Ronald Stuart Thomas Comments

Sylvia Frances Chan 23 October 2021

Congrats! The Poet Of The Day, the choice of Poem Hunter and Editors

0 0 Reply
AbdulKAYYUM 25 December 2019

He has 500 topper. WHY

0 1 Reply
Christine le Roux 06 November 2018

I'm desperately looking for the poem Gifts by R. S. Thomas. It ends with: To my children/ the hunger

1 0 Reply
Theresa Dowling 04 September 2011

A recent discovery! A genuine Christian poet when Christian poetry has almost become extinct. Thomas is not known at all in the U.S., except by an academic here and there - he certainly isn't taught. That is our loss!

12 5 Reply

Ronald Stuart Thomas Popularity

Ronald Stuart Thomas Popularity

Close
Error Success