Poetry: The Book of my Enemy — R. S. Thomas at Altitude | clivejames.com
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R. S. Thomas at Altitude

The reason I am leaning over
At this pronounced angle is simply
That I am accustomed to standing
On Welsh hillsides
Staring out over escarpments stripped
And pitiless as my vision,
Where God says: Come
Back to the trodden manure
Of the chapel’s warm temptation.
But I see the canker that awaits
The child, and say no.
I see the death that ends
Life, and say no.
Missing nothing, I say
No, no.
And God says: you can’t
Say no to me, cully,
I’m omnipotent.
But I indicate the
Flying birds and the
Swimming fish and the trudging
Horse with my pointing
Finger and with customary
Economy of language, say
There is a stone in my mouth,
There is a storm in my
Flesh, there is a wind in
My bone.
Artificer of the knuckled, globed years
Is this your answer?
I’ve been up on this hill
Too long.