Funnily enough, z, I have a handy rebuttal of your well-merited splutter.
I shall read it, and I apologise: you are entitled to like whatever you want. I have a regrettable tendency to treasure dull films that aspire to be old masters that move (think Tarkovsky, god help us - Stalker in particular, utterly boring I know, but strange and beautiful)
Gareth - Welcome to the Premier League of British Bloggers!I see from your Normblog profile that at university you "mostly studied History". Pray tell, what else you did with your time at Cambridge and/or Oxford, in what way/s are you "evil", and what have you got against East Anglia, Lincolnshire and Yorkshire?p.s. The Bright Field is one of my favourite pomes.
" what have you got against East Anglia, Lincolnshire and Yorkshire"That might be me FS. Though I think East Anglia and Lincs.might just remind him a little too much of mid America.Well done btw Garth, while you are making culture, some of us are knocking it to bits.http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-tyne-10759090Quadrophenia? come on.
z: Please don't apologise for a mere splutter of incredulity! In fact, one of the objects of my post on the film is to ask the conventional splutterer to look again. (There's a lot of sentiment in the choice too though).Francis: Thank you - money's not quite the same though is it?I did History at Cambridge and then did a ragbag called Russian and East European studies which, come thesis time, had resolved itself into sort of near-contemporary Russian History (it would have been an Anthropology and Geography Dept doctorate, for the pity of it.I must have misunderstood that question. I thought that it referred to what characteristics I liked/disliked in general. Never mind. It's probably true of me too as I was no doubt projecting.Flatness of landscape and people (Yorkshire excluded - but it is Yorkshire).It's a magical poem. How do you square its sentiment with your atheism? Or have I assumed wrongly?Have I now completed a Sedgeblog Profile?
Sean: Any chance of a souvenir bit of concrete? I missed out on the Wall.
Even as a practising Christian (of the tea and biscuits tendency) I never regarded RS Thomas as an especially religious poet. This particular verse grabs my attention still as an expression of awe in the face of a majestic nature, the individual's place within that natural environment, and an understanding and appreciation of deep time (the long now). All quite naturalistic.
What a lot of people forget about Yorkshire is the fact that it is the posh end of the north.
Hey I did not think of that one, get some "get carter" dust out off the crushers and bottle it in Newcastle Brown ale bottles..an instant ebay winner. Ill send you a dozen as commission.Ted Hughes "flat" Garth?, I detect a Celtic Bias to us heathen Vikings and Saxons. Do we live to be punished?The Vikings for one sailed down through to the black sea, and the Capsian founding the Kievan Rus, the forerunner to modern Russia. And the Normans? they were really Vikings too, its a rich legacy hardly "Flat", I would have Hughes down as Viking, The Hawk in the Rain thats a Norse verse is it not?The times change but you can always hear the echoes of the past.
Francis: Not a religious poet? As in a poet who writes on religious themes? Then who is?Malty: I have an instinctive aversion. It's irrational and is often shown to be but I can't escape it; it is my burden.Sean: Have you been to the pig farms of Jutland?BTW that Get Carter idea is definitely a goer. Just a decent chunk of concrete would do. Fiver each on eBay with practically an unlimited production run. That's another pension for you Sean (and that'll be 10% please).
Not an especially religious poet.Thomas was an Episcopalian priest, and as such professed a certain religious creed. Of sorts. Some of Thomas' poems are explicitly spiritual, but what comes across more strongly to me is a humanism centred on (a) the poet's personal relationship with his environment, and (b) the community he served, even if in cultural terms its members were worrying the carcass of a dead sheep. Thomas' words were grounded in the reality of rural northwest Wales, not the hereafter.
I don't think RS had very much time for humanity and certainly not humanism. In fact, I think that may be one of the larger understatements. But the work isn't the man and the wonder of poetry is how much you can take from it.Have you read Byron Rogers' excellent bio? I posted on it here:http://gawragbag.blogspot.com/2009/08/playful-ogre.html
Thomas may have been a grumpy old git, but he had a deep understanding of the people among whom he lived, and, I think, a love for them. I'm not talking about humanism as an ideology.
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