He and She
When he came in, she was there.
When she looked at him,
he smiled. There were lights
in time’s wave breaking
on an eternal shore.
Seated at table –
no need for the fracture
of the room’s silence; noiselessly
they conversed. Thoughts mingling
were lit up, gold
particles in the mind’s stream.
Were there currents between them?
Why, when he thought darkly,
would the nerves play
at her lips’ brim? What was the heart’s depth?
There were fathoms in her,
too, and sometimes he crossed
them and landed and was not repulsed.
R S Thomas
HARDLY DARING to presume about what R S Thomas had in mind as he penned his He and She I venture, nevertheless, that it’s a poem about prayer, if not for him, then for me. “Noiselessly they conversed”. Holy Spirit: she, and he.
And that’s why, I think, the poem comes to mind today. Robert Atwell has written of David, Bishop of Menevia, Patron of Wales, c.601 *
He is said to have based his Rule for his monasteries on that of the Egyptian desert monks, with a strong emphasis on hard work, abstinence from alcohol and a refraining from unnecessary speech.
Thoughts mingling were lit up, gold particles in the mind’s stream. I love to sit at just such a table. Happy St David’s Day. May God’s blessing be upon our Spring.
* Celebrating the Saints, Canterbury Press, 1998, 1999, 2004