Poetry and the Kenotic Word
World as the Icon of the Word: Sacramental Imagination in R. S. Thomas’s Nature Poems
The whole earth is a living icon of the face of God (St. John of Damascus)
R. S. Thomas claimed repeatedly that the core of his twin vocation as a priest-poet was the mystery of Incarnation. In fact he came to see the whole created world as the sacrament that speaks of God: hence his interest in nature and in the physical realities which may direct the beholder towards spiritual truths. As he wrote, “The sacramental side is there at the root … I feel when I act as a poet or when I act as a priest that I am doing the same work: conveying the sacrament of the earth, God’s earth, to people” (Thomas in Brown, “Language, Poetry and Silence” 165). In one interview the poet added: “I’ve kept away from large centres of population therefore I can’t really say that I have discovered God in people so much as I have under the stars at night, and in the workings of the created world” (Baker 313).
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