Thursday, 29 March 2018

'A slow singer'

R.S. Thomas, curmudgeon extraordinaire and one of our finest poets, would have been 105 today. His birthday is one that's always worth marking with a poem, and here's a seasonal one, at this time of year when the blackbirds are greeting the dawn and dusk more melodiously each day –

A Blackbird Singing

It seems wrong that out of this bird,
Black, bold, a suggestion of dark 
Places about it, there yet should come
Such rich music, as though the notes'
Ore were changed to a rare metal
At one touch of that bright bill.

You have heard it often, alone at your desk
In a green April, your mind drawn
Away from its work by sweet disturbance
Of the mild evening outside your room.

A slow singer, but loading each phrase
With history's overtones, love, joy
And grief learned by his dark tribe
In other orchards and passed on
Instinctively as they are now,
But fresh always with new tears.

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