R S Thomas, ‘Lore’


Job Davies, eighty-five
Winters old, and still alive
After the slow poison
And treachery of the seasons.

Miserable? Kick my arse!
It needs more than the rain’s hearse,
Wind-drawn to pull me off
The great perch of my laugh.

What’s living but courage?
Paunch full of hot porridge
Nerves strengthened with tea,
Peat-black, dawn found me

Mowing where the grass grew,
Bearded with golden dew.
Rhythm of the long scythe
Kept this tall frame lithe

What to do? Stay green.
Never mind the machine,
Whose fuel is human souls
Live large, man, and dream small.

R.S. Thomas (1913 – 2000) was an anglo-Welsh poet. He was an ordained in the Anglican Church and spent most of his life in rural North Wales. His poems are full of tensions: faith v. doubt, welsh nationalism v. anger at Wales’s own inability to preserve its culture, rural life v. city life, modernity v. the past. A lot of people think he’s depressing but I absolutely love his poetry and find it full of life.  His nature poetry is also amazing.

I spent my childhood in West Wales and I well remember men like Job Davies stamping over the hills in the rain, trousers tied with twine, going to check on their sheep.

8 thoughts on “R S Thomas, ‘Lore’

  1. R.S.Thomas
    I love him! hes awesome. and damn so much better than Dylan thomas, but then lots of Welsh poets are better than dylan Thomas, I dont know why hes the poster poet for wales it realy irritates me.

  2. We do like it “dark but ultimately life-affirming” don’t we!
    R.S Thomas is amazing.
    There are a couple of Dylan Thomas poems that I really like, but I agree that he’s not the best Welsh poet by a long shot.

  3. He has this love/hate relationship with Wales. His poems are appalled and celebratory at the same time.
    He’s also a very good religious poet.

  4. To Be hones this is not the best poem ive heard but it is definantly better than Dylan thomas but this poem is good. I had to read it a few times to get the fuller picture .

  5. I just love the entire character of Job, and of course the way that R.S Thomas has written to show us all the aspects of his personality, and any poet who can tell the reader “Kick my arse” is just awesome

  6. I love this poem because it’s so full of energy and finds the poetry in one man’s supposedly ordinary life.

  7. I love R.S. Thomas’ poems. And no he was not a “poor man’s Ted Hughes” as I have heard some of our more “literary” pretenders assert. “Lore” has always been a particular favourite and if I can aspire to be anything it is to be Job Davies!!!

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