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March 4th, 2015

R. S. Thomas - Via Negativa

Why no! I never thought other than
That God is that great absence
In our lives, the empty silence
Within, the place where we go
Seeking, not in hope to
Arrive or find. He keeps the interstices
In our knowledge, the darkness
Between stars. His are the echoes
We follow, the footprints he has just
Left. We put our hands in
His side hoping to find
It warm. We look at people
And places as though he had looked
At them, too; but miss the reflection.


-- from Through Corridors of Light: Poems of Consolation in Time of Illness, Edited by John Andrew Denny
Poetry Chaikhana | R. S. Thomas - Via Negativa
But the silence in the mind

by R. S. Thomas


Original Language English

But the silence in the mind
is when we live best, within
listening distance of the silence
we call God. This is the deep
calling to deep of the psalm-
writer, the bottomless ocean.
We launch the armada of
our thoughts on, never arriving.

It is a presence, then,
whose margins are our margins;
that calls us out over our
own fathoms. What to do
but draw a little nearer to
such ubiquity by remaining still?


-- from For Lovers of God Everywhere: Poems of the Christian Mystics, by Roger Housden
Poetry Chaikhana | R. S. Thomas - But the silence in the mind

R. S. Thomas - Kneeling

Moments of great calm,
Kneeling before an altar
Of wood in a stone church
In summer, waiting for the God
To speak; the air a staircase
For silence; the sun's light
Ringing me, as though I acted
A great role. And the audiences
Still; all that close throng
Of spirits waiting, as I,
For the message.
          Prompt me, God;
But not yet. When I speak,
Though it be you who speak
Through me, something is lost.
The meaning is in the waiting.

Poetry Chaikhana | R. S. Thomas - Kneeling

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