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"...his poetry was consistent in its seriousness of purpose. In Thomas's eyes the modern world with its technological conveniences was a dangerous distraction from our spiritual existence. Sometimes this aversion to the 20th Century could take on Luddite-like proportions - Thomas's son recalled sermons in which his father railed against fridges and washing machines - but Thomas certainly practised what he preached, living an extremely ascetic life. The language of the poems reflects this: the words are simple and spare, the lyric voice often fierce but capable of a kind of severe compassion and a prophet-like intensity. Thomas's uncompromising vision continued to attract admiration: in 1964 he won the Queen's Gold Medal for Poetry and in 1996 was a Nobel nominee (losing out to Seamus Heaney). Thomas died after suffering heart trouble at the age of 87. There was something in Thomas of the "voice crying aloud in the wilderness", the loneliness of a man socially isolated form his parishioners by his education and from the contemporary world by his temperament. But this sense of isolation is what makes his poetry "very pure, very bitter" (Al Alvarez) like the Welsh landscape he knew so well."

R. S. Thomas | poetryarchive.org


i see a person with a valuable perspective and  a voice that is slowly being silenced in the modern world.  The  modern world does not just make stuff and speak English. it possesses a host of traits which are incompatable with all of the traditional cultures of the Earth including its own.  The cost of living in technologically advanced society is the possible loss of everything else including our languages, and, Thomas might have insisted, our  souls.

Thomas. like the majority of people who live in Wales, was  not a speaker of Welsh.  He learned the language as an adult, and  in old age he did write prose in Welsh, but he was never comfortable writing poetry in it.  I. myself am monolingual (and barely that) but i know enough about the connection between people and the languages they speak to know that the statement, "I cannot write poetry in the language of my homeland" is powerful, painful, and sad.

As Wales became more Engish,  it became less Welsh.  This should be enough  to make a Welsh person anti-English.

The oneness of which mystics speak is a oneness which passes through our hearts rather than  our minds.  It  does not require a single language. a single culture; it does not come about through intrusion, invasion, competition or copying everything others do,

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