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R.S. Thomas

R.S. Thomas’ “Mediations”

R.S. Thomas’ poems about God continue to fascinate me, particularly ones like:

MEDIATIONS

And to one God says: Come

to me by numbers and

figures; see my beauty

in the angles between

stars, in the equations

of my kingdom. Bring

your lenses to the worship

of my dimensions: far

out and far in, there

is always more of me

in proportion. And to another:

I am the bush burning

at the centre of

your existence; you must put

your knowledge off and come

to me with your mind

bare. And to this one

he says: Because of

your high stomach, the bleakness

of your emotions, I

will come to you in the simplest

things, in the body

of a man hung on a tall

tree you have converted to

timber and you shall not know me.

Younger I was fascinated with science, particularly with the way things seemed to fit together perfectly. I remember the magical moment when I first saw an award-winning science short which featured microscopic close-ups and telescopic shots of the universe, revealing remarkable symmetries. I used to belief the purpose of science was to reveal those mysteries, though in recent years it seems as if it serves very different purposes.

Although I’ve never been able to feel God as the center of my existence, I envy many who have felt that way. In fact, that might well be what I most admire about R.S. Thomas’ poetry.

Of course, it’s the third argument that’s most shocking, at least coming from the pen of a minister. I’ll have to admit that, though the statement rings true to me, I’m also dumb-founded by it, unable to put my own reaction into words.