Kyla Matthews Sobey English 1302-002 09 November 2012 The Heart and Mind: The Message in R. S. Thomas’ “Remembering” “R. S. Thomas writes about the people of his country in a style that some critics have compared to the harsh and rugged terrain” (R. S. Thomas). Thomas grew up with a father who was a sailor and lived in British ports with his mother. He started his early schooling late which was “only pursued sporadically until his father found steady work with a ferry boat company” (R. S. Thomas). Following his early education, he set out to study Anglican Priesthood. In 1936, Thomas was ordained deacon in the Anglican Church. . . In 1937, he became and Anglican Priest” (R. S. Thomas). Thomas didn’t actually start writing poetry seriously until he met the woman who would later be his wife. That being said, “No Truce with the Furies” was not published until 1995. This book holds Thomas’ poem, “Remembering,” which essentially calls both the heart and mind into love; in this case, the love of his wife in their old age. In any relationship that is wanted to last love cannot exist with just one or the other; it must have both the heart and the mind to exist in any substantial form.
Love is a matter of the heart. Because of this, love means something different to every person. The Webster dictionary provides thirteen different definitions of love alone. The first definition is, “Strong affection for another rising out of kinship or personal ties” (LoveAbout). This definition is one most people would relate to at least while growing up. Webster’s continues with another definition saying, “attraction based on sexual desires: affection and tenderness felt by lovers” (LoveAbout). This kind of love is experienced as people grow older.
This also is the kind of love experienced in R. S. Thomas’ “Remembering”. The poem starts by reminding the younger readers to love what they have now because one day the relationship will change. Thomas states, “Love her now for her ecstasies, her willingness to oblige. There will come a time she will show her love for you in her cooking, her sewing; in a bed made up for passionless sleeping” (1-8). In this part, the reader realizes the couple is older and the relationship the couple is in is now much less exciting than when they started. The love is still there.
It is just shown in a different way. In 1 Corinthians it says, “[Love] always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres” (New International Version, 1 Cor. 13:7). The last part of the verse is what really stands out in Thomas’ poem. The last part of his poem says, “Her eyes that were a find day will cloud over and rain down desultory tears when, as she infers, you are not looking. Your part then will be to take her hand in your hand, proving to her that, if blind, it is not dumb” (13-20). 1 Corinthians 13:4 says, “Love is patient, love is kind. . ,” (New International Version). In Thomas’ “Remembering,” he has to be patient with his wife in understanding that she knows as well as he that she is not young or exactly beautiful anymore. He must be kind to her and hold her hand through everything so she knows that even if the relationship changes, the love, though shown differently, has not, and “[it] always perseveres” (New International Version, 1 Cor. 13:7). Throughout the poem, readers will realize that love is obviously something people feel in their hearts.
Truth be told, though, it is also a matter of the mind. Sometimes people get into relationships thinking they are ready for it, ready for anything that means they do not have to be alone or just for the sake of saying they are in a relationship. Their hearts are not really in it. Other times people are reading in relationships and believe the love is real until they rethink some of the things that have happened in the relationship or just think maybe this person they are with is not who he/she thought they were.
The physical attraction begins to matter more than the love, which it turns out never really existed. The mind was just clouded by what they thought they felt or what they wanted to feel. In “Remembering,” the middle of the poem talks about how the woman has changed in physical appearance over the years: “The wrinkles will come upon her calm though her brow will be under time’s blowing. Frost will visit her hair’s midnight and not thaw. Her eyes that were a find day will cloud over” (9-14). The man’s mind has come into play.
His thoughts have overtaken his love for the moment. The difference between this man and other immature or premature “love,” this man has loved his wife for years. Although the man is thinking about her physical appearance now in comparison to years ago when their love first began, this man’s love is unchanging; Old, young, beautiful, or wrinkled. He remembers the past but his heart remains true with love for his wife. Though this is often not the case, in this poem, in his life, “[love] always perseveres” (New International Version, 1 Cor. 13:7).
In all that has been said, love being a matter of the heart and of the mind, the truth has come to surface. Love cannot exist without both. If love existed without the mind, every person would, as the saying goes, “wear their heart on their sleeve. ” Love would not really be love. It would be more of an obsession. However, if love existed without the mind, love would be nothing more than an attraction because the emotional connection that is needed for a relationship to last would not be possible. Love is not just attraction or a simple emotion.
In, “Remembering,” Thomas proves that by saying, “Your part then will be to take her hand in your hand, proving to her that, if blind, it is not dumb” (17-20). The man had fallen for a woman who was young and beautiful. He looked on the past, remembered her as she once was, and still his love remained strong. His heart and mind agree that his love for her is real. 1 Corinthians 13:8, “Love never fails. . . ,” (New International Version, 1 Cor. 13:8). That is true for this couple. Their love will never fail.
In the end, that is the goal of any relationship; finding that the heart and mind agree with each other so that the love in the relationship will never fail because love cannot exist with just one or the other. It must have both to exist in any substantial form.
Works Cited New International Version. [Colorado Springs]: Biblica, 2011. BibleGateway. com. Web. 3 Mar. 2011. “LoveAbout Our Definitions: All Forms of a Word (noun, Verb, Etc. ) Are Now Displayed on One Page. ” Merriam-Webster. Merriam-Webster, n. d. Web. 09 Nov. 2012. “R. S. Thomas. ” : The Poetry Foundation. N. p. , n. d. Web. 09 Nov. 2012.