Lived long; much fear, less
courage. Bottom in love’s school
of his class; time’s reasons
too far back to be known.
Good on his knees, yeilding,
vertical, to petty temptations.
A mouth thoughts escaped
from unfledged. Where two
were company, he the unwanted
third. A Narcissus tortured
by the whisperers behind
the mirror. Visionary only
in his perception of an horizon
beyond the horizon. Doubtful
of God, too pusillanimous
to deny him. Saving his face
in verse from the humiliations prose
inflicted on him. One of life’s
conscientious objectors, conceding
nothing to the propaganda of death
but a compulsion to volunteer.
by R. S. Thomas
from Experimenting with an Amen (1986)