The Truth Might Ripen


Ronald Stewart Thomas (1913 – 2000)

The Fair

By R. S. Thomas

The idiot goes round and around
With his brother in a bumping car
At the fair. The famous idiot
Smile hangs over the car’s edge,
Illuminating nothing. This is mankind
Being taken for a ride by a rich
Relation. The responses are fixed:
Bump, smile; bump, smile. And the current

Is generated by the smooth flow
Of the shillings. This is an orchestra
Of steel with the constant percussion
Of laughter. But where he should be laughing
Too, his features are split open, and look!
Out of the cracks come warm, human tears.


By R. S. Thomas

I thought, you see, that on some still night,
When stars were shrill over his farm,
And he and I kept ourselves warm
By an old fire, whose bars were bright
With real heat, the truth might ripen
Between us naturally as the fruit
Of his wild hedges, or as the roots,
Swedes  and mangolds, he grew then.

No luck; the thoughts hopefully sown
On such evenings never could break
The mind’s crust.  Keeping my own
Company now.  I have forsaken
All but his poor basement of bone,
Where the one dry flame is awake.