It's been an R. S. Thomas year for me, in terms of poetry, so what better way to mark Advent than one more poem from the Welsh master? Especially fitting, given Advent's penitential character, is the poem below, "Christmas Eve." An anti-consumerist indictment of the so-called holiday season from the pen of a priest born the year before World War I began, it was written during Bill Clinton's first term.
Thomas was a great poet, and -- as should by now be clear -- part of that greatness is his enduring, almost absolute relevance. Enjoy.
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By R. S. Thomas
Erect capital's arch;
decorate it with the gilt edge
of the moon. Pave the way to it
with cheques and with credit --
it is still not high enough
for the child to pass under
who comes to us this midnight
invisible as radiation.