In R. S Thomas’ Welsh Landscape, ‘The past/brittle with relics,’ suggests that the former glories of Wales, like the castles and churches, which showed the strength and power of the country, are now a national disgrace. Restoration is needed and Wales’ national pride is also disintegrating. This is very successful in the way that it will make every patriotic Welshman strive to rebuild his/her country. The oxymoron, ‘Vibrant with sped arrows’ shows that Wales’ past is full of strife and this past, although exhausted, is still with us.
This is also effective because it will make the Welsh people think of what they are meant to be doing to help with the upkeep of the country which so many people have fought and died for. To me, possibly the most effective piece of imagery from Welsh Landscape is, ‘At the dusk of spilled blood that went to the making of the wild sky, Dyeing the immaculate rivers. ‘ This is a very powerful piece of imagery; it really does show the essence of Wales. It tells of the Wales` turbulent past. It shows that all the blood spilled during these epic battles goes to make the ‘wild’ red sky at night and dies the immaculate rivers.
The effect of these wars are permanent and Wales can never get away from them as they are constantly reminded when they look at the untamed night sky and flawless flowing rivers. Two other effective pieces of imagery that I particularly liked was when he spoke of ‘… shadows Hushed at the fields` corners… ‘ this suggests that the mysterious/sinister shadows that are Wales’ past are kept inside the fields and are no longer seen as a threat to Wales` future. Also ‘Sham ghosts. ‘ Here, I believe that R.
S Thomas is implying that Wales is a country filled with ‘fake’ ghosts of the past, ghosts that are ‘not real’ and again I believe that Thomas is trying to say that Wales is a country still harbouring its thunderous past, holding on to things that are no longer there. The structures of both poems are very similar. The structure of Welsh landscape is enjambment. This is when one line flows into another. Soft vowel sounds are used to give the poem a powerfully Welsh feel. R. S Thomas uses the oxymoron of ‘soft consonants’ when referring to the Welsh language and the strong Welsh need for it to be preserved, like the history has been.
East Moors is structured with a touch of ballad, it has formal verses and firm endings to the stanzas. Gillian Clarke said she wanted a poem with stanzas of the same length because she felt that it is a kind of song. She has very much achieved this with her poem, because, not only is it like a song, it has strong, authoritative endings to each stanza. The structure of both poems adds to their impact and makes them even more effective. It’s been enjoyable reading both poems and learning about the backgrounds of both poets Gillian Clarke and R. S Thomas. My personal favourite poem was R.
S Thomas’ Welsh Landscape because I agree with it entirely, I believe that Wales is indeed a great nation in danger of losing everything that it has going for it, if they don’t do something about it fast, and Thomas sums this up well in the last line when he says that the Welsh people are ‘worrying the carcase of an old song’. This illustrates that they are still hanging on to their reputation of being the land of song, and it seems almost unsettling to him. That’s why I personally preferred R. S Thomas’ Welsh Landscape over Gillian Clarke’s’ East Moors.