Remembering David Jones

by R.S. Thomas

Remembering_David_JonesBecause you had been in the dark wood

and heard doom’s nightingales sing,

men listened to you when you told

them how death is many but life

one. The shell’s trumpet sounded

over the fallen, but there was no

resurrection. You learned your lettering

from bones, the propped capitals which described

how once they were human beings.


Men march because they are alive,

and their quest is the Grail, garrisoned

by the old furies so it is blood

wets their lips. Europe gave you

your words, but your hand practised

an earlier language, weaving time’s branches

together to form the thicket the soldier

is caught in, who is love’s sacrifice

to itself, with the virgin’s smile poised

like a knife over it as over her first born.

David Jones
 – a fellow Welshman of R.S. Thomas – was one of the few poets who survived the carnage of WWI.

An early reminder that on October 27 Anne Fletcher will lead a discussion on the Poetry of the First World War.


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