The waves run up the shore and fall back. I run up the approaches of God and fall back. The breakers return reaching a little further, gnawing away at the main land. They have done this thousands of years, exposing little by little the rock under the soil’s face. I must imitate them only in my return to the assault, not in their violence. Dashing my prayers at him will achieve little other than the exposure of the rock under his surface. My returns must be made on my knees. Let despair be known as my ebb-tide; but let prayer have its springs, too, brimming, disarming him; discovering somewhere among his fissures deposits of mercy where trust may take root and grow.
Well, as I said, better to wait for him on some peninsula of the spirit. Surely for one with patience he will happen by once in a while. It was the heart spoke. The mind, sceptical as always of the anthropomorphisms of the fancy, knew he must be put together like a poem or a composition in music, that what he conforms to is art. A promontory is a bare place; no God leans down out of the air to take the hand extended to him. The generations have watched there in vain. We are beginning to see now it is matter is the scaffolding of spirit; that the poem emerges from morphemes and phonemes; that as form in sculpture is the prisoner of the hard rock, so in everyday life it is the plain facts and natural happenings that conceal God and reveal him to us little by little under the mind’s tooling.
Few possessions: a chair, a table, a bed, to say my prayers by, and, gathered from the shore, the bone-like, crossed sticks proving that nature acknowledges the Crucifixion. All night I am at a window not too small to be frame to the stars that are no further off than the city lights I have rejected. By day the passers-by who are not pilgrims, stare through the rain’s bars, seeing me as prisoner of the one view, I who have been made free by the tide’s pendulum truth that the heart that is low now will be at the full tomorrow.
by R. S. Thomas from No Truce With The Furies (1995)