A turning aside

The Bright Field

I have seen the sun break through
to illuminate a small field
for a while, and gone my way
and forgotten it. But that was the
pearl of great price, the one field that had
treasure in it. I realise now
that I must give all that I have
to possess it. Life is not hurrying

on to a receding future, nor hankering after
an imagined past. It is the turning
aside like Moses to the miracle
of the lit bush, to a brightness
that seemed as transitory as your youth
once, but is the eternity that awaits you.

R S Thomas
Collected Poems, page 302

I’ve noticed sunlight especially at various times and in various places in the past few days. If you close your eyes and think of a high mountainside in shade, or of a high street freshly washed with heavy rain from leaden sky – and stay with that for a moment: and then become aware of a sudden sweeping, a bright swathe of sunlight rolling out like a silk sheet across everything you can see in front of you, then you’ll readily recall the kind of experience I’m talking about.

Such a sight often stops me in my tracks when out and about. And today the flowers in our cottage garden have several times suddenly flared into the three dimensional – banishing greyness, demanding to be noticed.

And I’m always grateful when I do. And I’m always mindful that I need to more. And also always thankful to recall the wisdom of a great and reflective contemplative who inclined at times to the curmudgeonly but was, nevertheless, a channel for – as well as one most particularly attuned to – miracles of revelation.

Life is not hurrying … it is the turning aside to the miracle of the lit bush …

And I look back at the course of the hours of the day, and remind myself of the times and of the places when and where the “light” has caught my eye – and know that ground so touched is holy.

2 thoughts on “A turning aside

  1. . You have inherited the most beautiful place in England and ,I think ,the influence of the writers and poets who have also been inspired by our great Lakes. (Small g ). Thank you, Simon for reminding us of bright days and peaceful times. Transitory, yes, but grateful. XX

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  2. I, too, love these moments, Simon. I was recently out and saw a beautiful beam of sunlight dropping down from the clouds, like a stairway to heaven. It literally took my breath away. Wishing you a day filled with sunshine in this unsettled time for Great Britain… Hugs, L

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