R.S.Thomas ‘Peasant Greeting’
No speech; the raised hand affirms
All that is left unsaid,
By the mute tongue and the unmoistened lips:
The land’s patience and a tree’s
Knotted endurance and
The heart’s doubt whether to curse or bless,
All packed into a single gesture.
The knees crumble to the downward pull
Of the harsh earth, the eyes,
Fuddled with coldness, have no skill to smile.
Life’s bitter jest is hollow, mirthless he slips
To his long grave under the wave of the wind,
That breaks continually on the brittle ear.