Ronald Stuart Thomas

(1913 - 2000 / Cardiff / Wales)

Death Of A Poet


Laid now on his smooth bed
For the last time, watching dully
Through heavy eyelids the day's colour
Widow the sky, what can he say
Worthy of record, the books all open,
Pens ready, the faces, sad,
Waiting gravely for the tired lips
To move once -- what can he say?

His tongue wrestles to force one word
Past the thick phlegm; no speech, no phrases
For the day's news, just the one word ‘sorry';
Sorry for the lies, for the long failure
In the poet's war; that he preferred
The easier rhythms of the heart
To the mind's scansion; that now he dies
Intestate, having nothing to leave
But a few songs, cold as stones
In the thin hands that asked for bread.


Submitted by Andrew Mayers

Submitted: Monday, January 13, 2003

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  • Sylva Portoian (2/26/2010 11:52:00 AM)

    R. S. Thomas: Thee Poet

    ' In the thin hands,
    that asked for bread'.
    Thrived musical phrase
    that says,
    “What is a human
    That lies(lays) till end
    What thee began.
    Will end.” (Report) Reply

  • Steve W (6/11/2008 3:25:00 PM)

    I think he is referring to himself and 'everypoet'. He's aware that people expect answers from poets that they are unable to offer. Thomas was an understated man. I'm not sure if disillusioned is the right word, but he existed in the same postcode. Bleak, jaded or realistic? I enjoy a few of his poems very much. (Report) Reply

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