by R S Thomas (1913-2000)
I have been all men known to history, Wondering at the world and at time passing; I have seen evil, and the light blessing Innocent love under a spring sky. I have been Merlin wandering in the woods Of a far country, where the winds waken Unnatural voices, my mind broken By a sudden acquaintance with man's rage. I have been Glyn Dwr set in the vast night, Scanning the stars for the propitious omen, A leader of men , yet cursed by the crazed women Mourning their dead under the same stars. I have been Goronwy, forced from my own land To taste the bitterness of the salt ocean; I have known exile and a wild passion Of longing changing to a cold ache. King, beggar and fool, I have been all by turns, Knowing the body's sweetness, the mind's treason; Taliesin still, I show you a new world, risen, Stubborn with beauty, out of the heart's need.