On the Farm

By R. S. Thomas 1913–2000
There was Dai Puw. He was no good.
They put him in the fields to dock swedes,
And took the knife from him, when he came home
At late evening with a grin
Like the slash of a knife on his face.

There was Llew Puw, and he was no good.
Every evening after the ploughing
With the big tractor he would sit in his chair,
And stare into the tangled fire garden,
Opening his slow lips like a snail.

There was Huw Puw, too. What shall I say?
I have heard him whistling in the hedges
On and on, as though winter
Would never again leave those fields,
And all the trees were deformed.

And lastly there was the girl;
Beauty under some spell of the beast.
Her pale face was the lantern
By which they read in life’s dark book
The shrill sentence: God is love.

R. S. Thomas, “On the Farm” from The Poems of R. S. Thomas. Copyright © Kunjana Thomas 2001.  Reprinted by permission of University of Arizona Press.

Source: The Poems of R. S. Thomas (1985)

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Poet R. S. Thomas 1913–2000

POET’S REGION Wales

Subjects Relationships, Love, Men & Women, Religion, God & the Divine, Social Commentaries, Gender & Sexuality, Realistic & Complicated

 R. S. Thomas

Biography

Recognized as one of the leading poets of modern Wales, R. S. Thomas writes about the people of his country in a style that some critics have compared to that nation's harsh and rugged terrain. Using few of the common poetic devices, Thomas's work exhibits what Alan Brownjohn of the New Statesman calls a "cold, telling purity of language." James F. Knapp of Twentieth Century Literature explains that "the poetic world which . . .

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Poem Categorization

SUBJECT Relationships, Love, Men & Women, Religion, God & the Divine, Social Commentaries, Gender & Sexuality, Realistic & Complicated

POET’S REGION Wales

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Originally appeared in Poetry magazine.

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