Tuesday, January 18, 2022

The Great Prize: Liquid Gold

Indiana Sunrise ~  January 18, 2022
The Bright Field

I have seen the sun break through
to illuminate a small field
for a while, and gone my way
and forgotten it. But that was the
pearl of great price,* the one field that had
treasure in it. I realise now
that I must give all that I have
to possess it. Life is not hurrying

on to a receding future, nor hankering after
an imagined past. It is the turning
aside like Moses to the miracle
of the lit bush, to a brightness
that seemed as transitory as your youth
once, but is the eternity that awaits you.

R. S. Thomas (1913 - 2000)
Welsh poet and Anglican priest
It happens every year around this time!

See also
Look, a New Day has Begun
& My Own Little Stonehenge

*Poet, philosopher, and scholar John O'Donohue (1956 - 2008) analyzes "The Bright Field" with great sensitivity and insight. Interestingly, though, O'Donohue quotes the fifth line as "pearl of great prize." It could be merely typesetting error, but it adds depth to the traditional parable, for indeed the pearl of great price is also a great prize.

Typo or not, O'Donohue writes:
"Sometimes difficulty is the greatest friend of the soul. . . . looking back on life feeling, maybe, that you missed something or that you regret something that you did not do. . . .

"At the heart of R. S. Thomas's beautiful poem is a Celtic idea of time. Your time is not just past or future. Your time here always inhabits the circle of your soul. All your time i s gathered, and even your future time is waiting here for you. In a certain sense your past is not gone bu rather hidden in your memory. Your time is the deeper seed of the eternity that is waiting to welcome you.

From Anam Cara: A Book of Celtic Wisdom, (186 - 87)

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