Good Friday poem: R.S. Thomas, The Musician

Ruth Gouldbourne, now senior pastor at Bloomsbury Baptist, introduced me to Thomas’s poetry, one of several things for which I will always remain in her debt. Wales produced more than its fair share of worthwhile poets in the twentieth century, but I’d trade all of them – not excluding Wilfred Owen – for Thomas if I had to. I bought his Collected Poems five years’ back; it is now falling apart (a fate only suffered by my T.S. Eliot; but then I had the sense to buy MacDiarmid, Burns, Wordsworth, Coleridge – and several others – in hb). His vision is gaunt and spare to the extreme; his genius to express religious themes (he was an Anglican priest) in imagery that belongs to an industrial age. Here is one of his takes on the...

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