Thursday, October 06, 2011

The Window

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
from them?

                     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?

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