Tuesday, November 01, 2005

Good Suggestion, Peter!

Dr. Peter Rae, educator, guitarist, consummate grammarian, actor, and devotee of ethnic music for congregational singing, is a man I'm proud to call a friend. He is the energetic Dean of the Nazarene Theological College in Manchester, which was my home for some time around the turn of the millenium. And it was Peter who introduced me to the Poet R.S. Thomas and gave me a book of his poems. For those of you who don't know him, the picture above is Thomas, not Peter.

From 1936 until his retirement in 1978, Thomas worked as a vicar in the Church of Wales. His last parish, Aberdaron, was located on the tip of the remote Llyn Peninsula. The bleak Welsh landscape and the harsh life of the farmers who were his parishioners provided an inspiration for much of his finest poetry.

My good friend John (Abraham not Hadley) from Calgary mentioned an article which was loosely based around this poem... and so the article led me back to good ole' R.S. I thought I'd share it. The poem is about the Resurrection.


As I had always known
he would come, unannounced,
remarkable merely for the absence
of clamour. So truth must appear
to the thinker; so at a stage
of the experiment, the answer
must clearly emerge. I looked
at him, not with the eye
only, but with the whole
of my being, overflowing with
him as a chalice would
with the sea. Yet was he
no more there than before,
his area occupied
by the unhaloed presences.
You could put your hand
in him without consciousness
of his wounds. The gamblers
at the foot of the unnoticed
cross went on with
their dicing; yet the invisible
garment for which they played
was no longer at stake, but worn
by him in this risen existence.

- R.S. Thomas


Blogger steve said...

haven't managed to get the last couple of malkmus albums. last thing i got was the reissues of the pavement albums-the double cd of crooked rain crooked rain. i did manage to get i really cool pavement tshirt this year though

3:33 PM  
Blogger Matthew Francis said...

Sweet. I got those "Luxe and Redux" too. I haven't heard the new Malkmus record either.

5:08 PM  
Blogger avery said...

some poets have a skill that is just beyond description.
I will look for his poetry.

8:30 PM  
Blogger Simply Victoria said...

(as ramona said earlier, it would behoove us to reassure ourselves of our login name before posting, so as to save some confusion :P
this was my post, not avery's (aka: avashmava) gah!

10:48 PM  
Blogger Matthew Francis said...

I've done it before too! But I love his line "not with the eye only..."

7:32 AM  
Blogger Krista said...

There is so much in this poem that reminds me of Holy! I love the ending line...."risen existence". That is something that I can sit on for awhile for sure. The "existence" brings in the eternal presence of our Lord while at the same time the simplicity of His presence and ability to just BE. As well, the part about putting our hand in Him without consciousness of His wounds...it reminds me of Thomas....and how when there is doubt the Lord continues to show his Love and that it is all very REAL. Christ does not keep the pain that He suffered on behalf of us in our face. For the cross was painful and his wounds were real. Yet, because of what He did for us the joy has taken over and thanksgiving for what and why our Lord died on the cross is everlasting. The imagery of the guards at the feet of him and the gambling for this illusion rather than what and who is truly before them.....that line about the invisible garment made me think of both the shrowd as well as Christ's white clothing and his risen state (portrayed in the icons)

I think I could talk about this poem for awhile....(i love poetry), but I'll just mention one other thing.....I love the imagery of how we look at Him....."not with the eye only, but the whole of our being overflowing with Him as a chalise would with the sea".

Thanks for sharing this Matthew....I too am now going to start reading some of this poetry. I did not know about this fellow R.S Thomas...it's like you shared a treasure...thanks again. I see the book lying on a little table about 2 feet away....so I think I'll pick it up :)

7:43 AM  

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