THAT great Welsh cleric-poet R S Thomas seemed often to agonise about his faith, but these two little reflections by him show him in tranquil, though no less visionary, mood. The first appears in his Collected Poems 1945-1990 (Phoenix Press, £14.99); the second in R S Thomas: Uncollected Poems (Bloodaxe Books, £9.95).


I have seen the sun break through

to illuminate a small field

for a while, and gone my way

and forgotten it. But that was the pearl

of great price, the one field that had

the treasure in it. I realise now

that I must give all that I have

to possess it. Life is not hurrying

on to a receding future, nor hankering after

an imagined past. It is the turning

aside like Moses to the miracle

of the lit bush, to a brightness

that seemed as transitory as your youth

once, but is the eternity that awaits you.


Climbing mountains was climbing

himself. From the summit

he could look down and see below

the problems he had left behind.

Thoughts were like flowers on

the ledges, high up and far out,

the best needing to be plucked

dangerously and smelling of courage.

At night there was this mountain

above him, dark as the cave

of sleep he would enter and emerge

from tomorrow to resume his climbing.