‘Green asylum’
The natural world
in R. S. Thomas

R. S. Thomas can often be found wrestling in the poems with the paradox of a Christian God of love having created a natural economy based upon cycles of violence and consumption. This is what Alfred Tennyson in In Memoriam refers to as 'Nature, red in tooth and claw'. This chapter highlights and explores this paradox as it emerges in Thomas's work, examining it first in relation to certain statements by Tennyson in his In Memoriam, and then detailing each poet's ultimate response to the problem. It examines closely Thomas's own concern with and depictions of the natural violence in the poems. One of the characteristic of Thomas's poetic engagement with nature concerns what he refers to as 'the problem of killing as part of the economy of the God of love'. The chapter ends by looking briefly at the little-known poem 'Islandmen', from Thomas's 1972 collection Young and Old.

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R. S. Thomas

Identity, environment, and deity

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