Say he is any man
anywhere set before the shop window
of life, full of comestibles
and jewels; to put out his hand
is to come against
glass; to break it is
to injure himself.
Shall he turn
poet and acquire them
in the imagination, gospeller
and extol himself for his abstention
What is he is not
called? I would put the manufacturers
there. Let them see the eyes
staring in, be splashed with the blood
of the shop-breakers; let them live
on the poet's diet, on the pocket-money
of the priest.
I see the blinds
going down in Europe, over the
whole world: the rich with everything to
sell, the poor with nothing to buy it with.
R S Thomas (Experimenting With An Amen 1986)
I'm reading this book - I'd missed out seeing this volume before and I was struck by Thomas' view of an acquisitive society. Particularly after this summer - in the UK - of riots and looting. Shall we offer pretence, a substitute for that which cannot be afforded?