Some wisdom to begin the year: from Welsh poet R.S.Thomas

I am gazing through our wide bay window towards the shadowy hills, as city lights illuminate a cold, rainy early January night. That window, come Monday and Epiphany, will be very bare: our magical nine-foot tree will be no more. Where will all its jewels of multi-coloured reflection go? Back to the ‘Otherworld’, the Romantic in me thinks. Waiting, waiting for another year……

To distract myself from this post-Festive melancholy, I start tidying my workroom – and find a different kind of jewel. In the wonderful poetry anthology sent to me from Zane, the charity which does such sterling work in Zimbabwe, I come across a poem which perfectly fits my mood: a reminder that moments of  transitory joy in life, fleeting as they are, are to be cherished –

Let us not rush through 2014 so much that we forget to pause, to notice, should a fleeting glimpse of the brightness of Eternity come our way….

A fleeting light.....
A fleeting light…..

The Bright Field

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
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.


(From Laboratories of the Spirit, published by MacMillan. © Kunjana Thomas)


300 words copyright Anne Whitaker/R.S. Thomas 2014

Licensed under Creative Commons – for conditions see Home Page




4 thoughts on “Some wisdom to begin the year: from Welsh poet R.S.Thomas

  1. The poem makes me think of a theme much in my mind, and the title of a post-yet-to-be: strewn with a provident hand. The world gives us far more than we are wont to acknowledge. That’s part of the excitement of a new year, don’t you think? We have a vague sense that there are “things” waiting for us, experiences yet to come – and they’re wholly unpredictable.

    1. ‘The world gives us far more than we are wont to acknowledge’… beautifully put!

      One of the many things I never realised about growing older was that life would remain, despite significant inevitable limitations, so open to new possibilities. There is great pleasure still to be had in the unpredictability of the new… long as one is reasonably willing to pause, and look, and listen…..and to respond.

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