[Skip Navigation]

Plagiarist Poetry Sites: Plagiarist.com | Poetry X | Poetry Discussion Forums | Open Poetry Project | Joycean.org
Enter our Poetry Contest
Win Cash and Publication!

Plagiarist.com Archive

More poems by R.S. ThomasR.S. Thomas | Print this page.Print | View and Write CommentsComments (1) | Books by R.S. ThomasBooks by R.S. Thomas

A Welsh Testament

R.S. Thomas

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
Of cloud for at least half the year.
My word for heaven was not yours.
The word for hell had a sharp edge
Put on it by the hand of the wind
Honing, honing with a shrill sound
Day and night. Nothing that Glyn Dwr
Knew was armour against the rain's
Missiles. What was descent from him?

Even God had a Welsh name:
He spoke to him in the old language;
He was to have a peculiar care
For the Welsh people. History showed us
He was too big to be nailed to the wall
Of a stone chapel, yet still we crammed him
Between the boards of a black book.

Yet men sought us despite this.
My high cheek-bones, my length of skull
Drew them as to a rare portrait
By a dead master. I saw them stare
From their long cars, as I passed knee-deep
In ewes and wethers. I saw them stand
By the thorn hedges, watching me string
The far flocks on a shrill whistle.
And always there was their eyes; strong
Pressure on me: You are Welsh, they said;
Speak to us so; keep your fields free
Of the smell of petrol, the loud roar
Of hot tractors; we must have peace
And quietness.

Is a museum
Peace? I asked. Am I the keeper
Of the heart's relics, blowing the dust
In my own eyes? I am a man;
I never wanted the drab role
Life assigned me, an actor playing
To the past's audience upon a stage
Of earth and stone; the absurd label
Of birth, of race hanging askew
About my shoulders. I was in prison
Until you came; your voice was a key
Turning in the enormous lock
Of hopelessness. Did the door open
To let me out or yourselves in?


Submitted by Andrew Mayers

Added: 24 Jun 2002 | Last Read: 24 Apr 2018 6:53 AM | Viewed: 7148 times

A PoetryNotes™ Analysis of A Welsh Testament by R.S. Thomas, is Available!

A PoetryNotes™ eBook is available for this poem for delivery within 24 hours, and usually available within minutes during normal business hours.

ON SALE - only $29.95 19.95!

For more information...


URL: http://plagiarist.com/poetry/5043/ | Viewed on 24 April 2018.
Copyright ©2018 Plagiarist - All rights reserved.