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(1913 - 2000 / Cardiff / Wales)

Biography of Ronald Stuart Thomas

Ronald Stuart Thomas poet

Ronald Stuart Thomas was born in Cardiff in 1913, the son of a sea captain. He was educated at University College of North Wales and later undertook theological training at St Michael's College in Cardiff. He was ordained as an Anglican priest in 1936.

During his time as a rector he began to write poetry and verse. His writing career continued for fifty years during which time he produced twenty volumes of poetry and was nominated for a Nobel prize and awarded the Queen's Gold Medal for Poetry. Whilst religion, understandably, was one of the major themes of his work, he also wrote about nature and about Welsh history. Thomas was fervent and often outspoken Welsh patriot and even wrote his autobiography Nab (Nobody - 1985) in Welsh.

Thomas enjoyed working in the countryside and spent his whole time as a clergyman working in rural parishes. He retired in 1978. His first wife Elsi, by whom he had a son, died in 1991 after 51 years of marriage. He later married his second wife, Betty, who was with him until his death. He died at the age of 87 n 25th September 2000.

Whilst still remembered for his Welsh republican views, it is for his religious poetry that he is still held in high regard. Of his work, he said:

"My chief aim is to make a poem . You make it for yourself firstly, and then if other people want to join in... then there we are." His Collected Poems was published in 1993 and is still available today.

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A Welsh Testament

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

[Hata Bildir]