I knew it all, dividing tact from truth

14 Apr 2022 | Church | 0 comments

I was the chapel pastor, the abrupt shadow

staining the neutral fields, troubling the men

who grew there with my glib dutiful praise

of a fool’s world; a man ordained for ever

to pick his way along the grass-strewn wall

dividing tact from truth.

I knew it all,

although I never pried, I knew it all.

I knew why Buddug was away from chapel.

I knew that Pritchard, the Fron, watered his milk.

I knew who put the ferret with fowls

in Pugh’s hen-house. I knew and pretended I didn’t.

and they knew that I knew and pretended I didn’t.

They listened to my preaching the unique gospel

of love; but our eyes never met. And outside

the blood of God darkened the evening sky.


R.S. Thomas (1913-2000), BBC Welsh Home Service 18.09.1952, published 1953.


Notes from the Compiler


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