Children’s Song by R.S. Thomas

Ronald Stuart Thomas, the Welsh poet and priest, would have been 100 years old this year. He died in 2000. I have been reading some of his poems and thinking about what looked like his severe and humble literary life in rural Wales. His poetry goads the complacent, confounds the secure believers and the satisfied secularists alike. He was a fascinating old coot. Here is a poem by R.S. Thomas that I see as an outlier. His meaning is clear in an uncharacteristically (almost) tender praise of childhood.

Children’s Song

We live in our own world,
A world that is too small
For you to stoop and enter
Even on hands and knees,
The adult subterfuge.
And though you probe and pry
With analytic eye,
And eavesdrop all our talk
With an amused look,
You cannot find the centre
Where we dance, where we play,
Where life is still asleep
Under the closed flower,
Under the smooth shell
Of eggs in the cupped nest
That mock the faded blue
Of your remoter heaven.

Fishing  Winslow Homer

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