Eine Kleine Nichtmusik

Witty and pertinent observations on matters of great significance OR Incoherent jottings on total irrelevancies OR Something else altogether OR All of the above

Sunday, August 19, 2012

"When you want to sit - sit. When you want to stand - stand. Above all - don't wobble." (Zen Master)

LIMBO by R.S. Thomas

They say the virtuous pagans dwell in Limbo
There, in umbrageous groves, the hoary sages
Lean against olive trees with arms akimbo,
Arguing gently down the endless ages.

The climate there is neither hot nor wintry:
Lacks Heaven's bliss, and Hell's perpetual arson.
It all reminds me of a night at Fintry
I spent discoursing with a cultured parson,

A peaceful night of mild and muggy weather.
Outside, young lovers down the lanes were strolling,
The Beltane-fires were burning in the heather,
And in the shed MacGregor's mare was foaling.

But never rumour came to our seclusion
Of birth or death, the snowflake or the swallow:
And that was when I came to the conclusion
That Hell and Heaven both beat Limbo hollow.

I saw this poem a long time ago, framed on the wall in a house named Fintry in Surrey. From the context it's pretty clear that it's the Scottish village of that name that Thomas is referring to, but having it in the house was  a nice thought, especially as Fintry plays host to many a religio-philosophical disputation, being as it is the headquarters of The Universal Order.

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