R. S. Thomas, “The Kingdom” [Poetry for Ordinary Time]

I’ve enjoyed posting poetry series themed around the Christian year in the past couple of years (see “Poetry for Lent” and “Poetry for Easter“). I will continue that with a series called “Poetry for Ordinary Time.” Ordinary time includes two sections of the church year between Christmastide and Lent and Easter and Advent. The word “ordinary” here derives from the word ordinal by which the weeks are counted. Still, ordinary time does serve an opportunity to embrace the ordinary spaces and places of our lives, and the themes of the poems will express this.

Here is R. S. Thomas” poem “The Kingdom” from Selected PoemsThomas was an Anglican priest and a leading Anglo-Welsh poet of the 20th century.


It’s a long way off but inside it
There are quite different things going on:
Festivals at which the poor man
Is king and the consumptive is
Healed; mirrors in which the blind look
At themselves and love looks at them
Back; and industry is for mending
The bent bones and the minds fractured 
By life. It’s a long way off, but to get 
There takes no time and admission
Is free, if you will purge yourself
Of desire, and present yourself with
Your need only and the simple offering
Of your faith, green as a leaf.


Previous poems in this series:

3 thoughts on “R. S. Thomas, “The Kingdom” [Poetry for Ordinary Time]

  1. Diolch, thank you for this. Unfortunately there’s a mistake, please note that it should read “if you will purge yourself…”

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