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Death Of A Poet

R.S. Thomas

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Thin Hands
Added by: Andrew Mayers
The poem opens with a description of a poet watching the day, surrounded by various reporters waiting for some witty or profound dying words from him. The poet, however, has difficulty in talking at all:
“His tongue wrestles to force one word
Past the thick phlegm;”

(Typical of Thomas is the use of unromanticised, authentic details.) Even when the poet does manage to speak, it is only to say “sorry”. He is sorry because:

“he preferred
The easier rhythms of the heart
To the mind’s scansion;”

That is, the poet feels that he has too often been content to describe his experiences emotionally rather than analysing them with the discipline of intellect because the latter would have required more effort. Because of this he feels that he must apologise to those readers who came to his works hoping to gain some constructive rewards from their reading when this has not been the case.
Fabulous last few lines. Sometimes the truth is very simple.

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