Sunday 3 December 2023


 Advent, and snow on the ground.
Here is a bleakly beautiful Advent poem by – who else? – R.S. Thomas.

The Coming

And God held in his hand
A small globe.  Look, he said.
The son looked.  Far off,
As through water, he saw
A scorched land of fierce
Colour.  The light burned
There; crusted buildings
Cast their shadows: a bright
Serpent. A river
Uncoiled itself, radiant
With slime.
               On a bare
Hill a bare tree saddened
The sky.  Many People
Held out their thin arms
To it, as though waiting
For a vanished April
To return to its crossed
Boughs.  The son watched
Them.  Let me go there, he said.


  1. Thank you. It's the bleakness of Christianity's beauty which sets it apart. The same applies, of course, to Thomas's poetry. There is no falseness in the offering of hope.

    1. Absolutely. So much depth and truth in Thomas's Christianity, if little in the way of hope or good cheer.

  2. Dear Nige, I always listen to this at advent (for about the last twelve years anyway). Now when I do so I shall think of you.

    1. Thanks Daniel. This was the closing hymn in Lichfield Cathedral's Advent Service yesterday – and it was on Radio 3 this morning, sung by Maddy Prior. Such a beautiful melody, and no one seems to know quite where it came from (often the way with the best tunes)...

  3. Diolch, thank you for this. If anyone reading this likes RS Thomas then you might be interested in and/or twitter @RSThomaspoet or Mastodon @RSThomaspoet - share RS Thomas poems, quotes, events, info, Q&A etc…

    1. Thanks Michael. Yes, I am a member of the excellent Facebook group.