Week 87: Good, by R.S.Thomas

Time for another of my favourite R.S.Thomas poems: here is a poet who no longer has to strain for any kind of ornamentation, achieving his effects by apparently plain statement coupled with a mastery of cadence.

Good

The old man comes out on the hill
and looks down to recall earlier days
in the valley. He sees the stream shine,
the church stand, hears the litter of
children’s voices. A chill in the flesh
tells him that death is not far off
now: it is the shadow under the great boughs
of life. His garden has herbs growing.
The kestrel goes by with fresh prey
in its claws. The wind scatters the scent
of wild beans. The tractor operates
on the earth’s body. His grandson is there
ploughing; his young wife fetches him
cakes and tea and a dark smile. It is well.

R.S.Thomas

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