Saturday, October 16, 2010
R. S. Thomas: "I have heard the still, small voice and it is that of bacteria demolishing my cosmos."
As I did yesterday with Stevie Smith, I resist detailing my interest but simply present a poem. Thomas can surprise with a sometimes corrosive voice, though not here. Of course thresholds are enormously exciting, being containers for hope, fear, speculation; for safety, expectant waiting; for change, passage.
Thomas was my "find." I offer you one of his poems.
I emerge from the mind’s
cave into the worse darkness
outside, where things pass and
the Lord is in none of them.
I have heard the still, small voice
and it was that of the bacteria
demolishing my cosmos. I
have lingered too long on
this threshold, but where can I go?
To look back is to lose the soul
I was leading upwards towards
the light. To look forward? Ah,
what balance is needed at
the edges of such an abyss.
I am alone on the surface
of a turning planet. What
to do but, like Michelangelo’s
Adam, put my hand
out into unknown space,
hoping for the reciprocating touch?
R. S. Thomas
For a biography and more poems I direct you to the Poetry Foundation page on R. S. Thomas. I copy/pasted this poem from their Web site to avoid the occasion of a typo.