‘The Musician’, by R. S. Thomas

A memory of Kreisler once:
At some recital in this same city,
The seats all taken, I found myself pushed
On to the stage with a few others,
So near that I could see the toil
Of his face muscles, a pulse like a moth
Fluttering under the fine skin,
And the indelible veins of his smooth brow.

I could see, too, the twitching of the fingers,
Caught temporarily in art’s neurosis,
As we sat there or warmly applauded
This player who so beautifully suffered
For each of us upon his instrument.

So it must have been on Calvary
In the fiercer light of the thorns’ halo:
The men standing by and that one figure,
The hands bleeding, the mind bruised but calm,
Making such music as lives still.
And no one daring to interrupt
Because it was himself that he played
And closer than all of them the God listened.

– R. S. Thomas, ‘The Musician’ in Tares (Chester Springs: Dufour Editions, 1961), 19.

4 thoughts on “‘The Musician’, by R. S. Thomas

  1. Jason,

    I’ve come back here practically every day since you put this up. It is too good to chatter on about. It is for “soaking”! Thank you.

    Soli Deo Gloria

    Mike C.

    Like

  2. This is a brief comment about poetry and its presentation. I only offer it because I can tell that you care about layout and presentation. As a general rule one should present a poem in the format that the poet offered, and this includes its layout on the page. In the present case, this means left-aligned not centred. R. S. Thomas in particular was quite careful about things like this. His syle is spare and unadorned. The centring in this example is a distraction; it directs the reader away from the content of the poem, towards some notion that the piece is visually “pretty” or symmetric or something like that. I hope this unsolicited advice is welcome rather than the reverse.

    Like

  3. This is a brief comment about poetry and its presentation. I only offer it because I can tell that you care about layout and presentation. As a general rule one should present a poem in the format that the poet offered, and this includes its layout on the page. In the present case, this means left-aligned not centred. R. S. Thomas in particular was quite careful about things like this. His style is spare and unadorned. The centring in this example is a distraction; it directs the reader away from the content of the poem, towards some notion that the piece is visually “pretty” or symmetric or something like that. I hope this unsolicited advice is welcome rather than the reverse.

    Like

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