Coming Soon

3 May 2024 | Jesus Christ | 0 comments

people standing in front of red and yellow UNKs bar

It is this great absence
that is like a presence, that compels
me to address it without hope
of a reply. It is a room I enter
from which someone has just
gone, the vestibule for the arrival
of one who has not yet come.
I modernise the anachronism
of my language, but he is no more here
than before. Genes and molecules
have no more power to call
him up than the incense of the Hebrews
at their altars. My equations fail
as my words do. What resources have I
other than the emptiness without him of my whole
being, a vacuum he may not abhor?

R.S. Thomas (1913-2000), ‘The Absence’, Frequencies, 1978.

Notes from the Compiler

Jim Cotter (1946-2014) wrote in 2011 from Aberdaron where he was priest-in-charge after Thomas : 'Putting aside noise, information, meetings, chatter, possessions, mobile phones... stepping into the emptiness that is at the heart of religion and science... looking out...! Thomas's poems leave us chilled, but yet oddly consoled. They reveal tremendous things to us but beyond them there is no further disappointment.' Thomas believed, 'An absence is how we become surer of what we want.' Jesus told his disciples, 'I am going to him who sent me... It is to your advantage that I go away.... When the Spirit of truth comes, he will guide you into all truth... He will glorify me, because he will take what is mine and declare it to you.' (John 16:5-15).


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