Thursday, March 5, 2020

Poem For A Thursday (#Dewithon20 edition)


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 

"Grumpy old clergyman, sour old sod," is the description of Thomas at this link from the Guardian, but the author also made Thomas' Collected Poetry one of his ten best Welsh books. 'Lore' is from his 1961 book Tares. Here's another of my favorite Thomas poems.

I got that Guardian link from Paula's organizing post for her Welsh readalong Dewithon, which is full of other great resources.

Jennifer is featuring a poem by Kim Addonizio this week.


  1. the Welsh have a certain distinction... W.H. Davies, poet and author, tramp and philosopher, proselytizer of beauty...

    1. Agreed!
      (signed) Rhys

      (Though I'm no more than a quarter Welsh.)

  2. "Grumpy old clergyman, sour old sod," - and often - unintentionally sometimes - very funny. Read Byron Rogers' biography "The Man Who Went into the West".

    1. That does look like it would be interesting...I'll have to hunt it up.

  3. There was much more to him than that. For an antidote to the tabloids’ caricature, try Poems to Elsi, for example. And here’s another view…

    1. Oh, it's a totally unfair comment, but it did amuse me.

      Thanks for the link!

  4. I love that line "What's living but courage?" So great. :)

    1. Somehow I think I'd like to meet Job Davies.