The other

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There are nights that are so still
that I can hear the small owl calling
far off and a fox barking
miles away. It is then that I lie
in the lean hours awake, listening
to the swell born somewhere in the Atlantic
rising and falling, rising and falling
wave on wave on the long shore
by the village, that is without light
and companionless. And the thought comes
of that other being who is awake, too,
letting our prayers break on him,
not like this for a few hours,
but for days, years, for eternity.

R S Thomas (link)
From Destinations, 1985
Collected Poems

Sometimes, in the ‘timeless moments’ of life, particular poets re-enter my heart and mind as counsel and comfort within a season. The late and deeply present R S Thomas has long told of the rising and falling of life’s great ocean, but also of the ‘nights that are so still’ – of an eternal calm. Images of such a calm have been beamed around the globe in recent days, and ears bend to hear the reassuring sound of kind wind – as the Scottish love song* has it – ‘like a bird on the wing’ across water.

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* The Skye Boat Song, Sir Harold Edwin Boulton

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7 thoughts on “The other

  1. I agree with Mimi. I heard an owl calling in the wee hours when I took my darling Lola out for her middle of the night potty break, and the magnitude of the world and my tiny place in it came pressing in. That intense quiet that can be at times unnerving and at others deeply comforting. Xx

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