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

Sea Watching — 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 😉 )

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.


3 responses to “‘What We Need is Here’ (Poetry Read Aloud)”

  1. I’m just now getting around to listening to the poem –very nicely done by a very lovely lady. Being in the moment that’s something that we all should learn very early in life. There really is just the moment.

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