‘What We Need is Here’ (Poetry Read Aloud)

    Sea Watching ā€” Joy Clarkson

    Hey, friends! Today, I will be doing a poetry read-aloud and discussion of R.S. Thomas’s “The Bright Field” and Wendell Berry’s “Wild Geese.” I hope you are able to tune it and enjoy the meaning and beauty these poets weave with their words.

    (I’m still figuring out how to adjust the size, so, for the best experience, I’d recommend clicking the “enter full screen/expand” button šŸ˜‰ )

    About R.S. Thomas

    R.S. Thomas, born in 1913, was a Welsh poet. The son of a sailor, Thomas grew up in British port towns, aiding his mother while his father was away at sea. When he reached adulthood, he became an Anglican priest and held positions in rural towns in Wales. Exposed to the lives of peasants and the harshness of the environment, Thomas began incorporating themes and characters from his experience into his poetry. Yet, according to Dyson, Thomas found that Wales was “a land of ruined beauty belonging to the past” and the people were “more human than any educated sophistication.”

    As Poetry Foundation writes, “Thomas’s interest in such things as his Welsh homeland, his religion, the natural world, and a spare and simple poetic style reflect his disenchantment with the modern world.”

    His poetry is simple but poignant. A reflection of the turmoil and isolation he senses in the world, and his struggle to reconcile it with the beauty he observes.

    "The Bright Field" by R.S. Thomas 
    I have seen the sun break through
    to illuminate a small field
    for a while, and gone my way
    and forgotten it. But that was the pearl
    of great price, the one field that had
    treasure in it. I realize now
    that I must give all that I have
    to possess it. Life is not hurrying
    on to a receding future, nor hankering after
    an imagined past. It is the turning
    aside like Moses to the miracle
    of the lit bush, to a brightness
    that seemed as transitory as your youth
    once, but is the eternity that awaits you.

    And, as a closing echo to Thomas’s poem, I included a poem by Wendell Berry.

    "Wild Geese" by Wendell Berry
    Horseback on Sunday morning,
    harvest over, we taste persimmon
    and wild grape, sharp sweet
    of summer's end. In time's maze
    over fall fields, we name names
    that rest on graves. We open
    a persimmon seed to find the tree
    that stands in promise,
    pale, in the seed's marrow.
    Geese appear high over us,
    pass, and the sky closes. Abandon,
    as in love or sleep, holds
    them to their way, clear
    in the ancient faith: what we need
    is here. And we pray, not
    for new earth or heaven, but to be
    quiet in heart, and in eye,
    clear. What we need is here.

    What are your thoughts on these poems? I hope you enjoyed listening to them as much as I enjoyed reading them! Let me know if you’d like more read-alouds in the future.


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