R. S. Thomas - Misery Guts Welsh Poet and His Duffle Coats
R. S. Thomas - One of the Great Welsh 'Thomas Poets'
The Tweed Pig sometimes accuses itself of being too superficial. We obsess about things like seams on socks. Does it really matter? But maybe we're being too hard on ourselves. After all, isn't God (or the devil) in the detail?
Perhaps to over-compensate, we bring you some introspective poetry today. It's good to do a little navel-gazing at this time of year. R. S. Thomas is considered one of the great Welsh poets. He was an Anglican priest with deep spiritual convictions. These convictions were ostensibly to reject the greed and superficiality of consumerism and defend the community of Wales from such malign influence. He was extreme in these convictions, railing against household appliances and gadgets as vacuous diversions that led people from their innate spiritual needs. His sermons and poetry reflected this outlook. And he had the courage of his convictions, living in splendid isolation in a remote part of Wales where modernity barely got a look in, and he could channel his thoughts into beautiful and sensitive poetry.
His spiky personality and introspection reminds me a little of Wainright, actually.
The Man Who Went into the West: The Life of R. S. Thomas
If you wish to know more of R. S. Thomas the man, there is no better place to start than the biography by Byron Rogers, The Man Who Went into the West: The Life of R. S. Thomas [Amazon].A fair and meticulous biography of a complex and often paradoxical figure out on Aurum Press.
The Duffle Coated Poet
He probably wouldn't have appreciated my pointing this out, but R. S. Thomas wore a mean duffle coat. And you can achieve the shy yet angry British poet look with a Gloverall.
This excerpt from a programme broadcast on British TV in 1995 features R. S. Thomas, who recites some of his wonderful poetry and displays, in cut-glass English accent, a surprising sense of humour. Lots of duffle coat action too.