Christ a Poet, the Resurrection His Poem

It may seem a strange and contradictory stance for a poet who is also a priest, standing as it does in the face of so many people’s comfortable orthodoxy, but throughout his long career [R.S.] Thomas insisted he found no contradiction in his two vocations, even as he acknowledged he was not especially orthodox. “A lot of people seem to be worried about how I combine my work as a poet and my work as a priest,” he told the BBC in 1972. “This is something that never worried me at all.” He went on to insist, echoing Matthew Arnold, that “in any case, poetry is religion, religion is poetry” and “Christ was a poet, the New Testament is a metaphor, the resurrection is a metaphor” — explaining metaphor as “an attempt to convey an experience of a kind of new life, an eruption of the deity into ordinary life, a lifting up of ordinary life into a higher level.”