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The Woman- R.S.Thomas- Poem Summary

Updated: Jul 21, 2023


POEM INTRODUCTION:

The poem ‘The Woman’ was published with one of R. S. Thomas' collections of poetry. The poem given below is from the book Selected Poems by Ronald Stuart Thomas published in 2004. The speaker of the poem is the poet himself, the poem is written almost in indirect speech. This poem is all about The woman i.e. Eve asking God for motherhood, to be the creator of the human race, to become the one who will be the only mode to bring life to Earth.

POEM

So beautiful--God himself quailed

at her approach: the long body curved

like the horizon. Why had he made

her so? How would it be, she said,

leaning towards him, if instead of

quarreling over it, we divided it

between us? You can have all the credit

for its invention, if you will leave the ordering

of it to me. He looked into her

eyes and saw far down the bones

of the generations that would navigate

by those great stars, but the pull of it

was too much. Yes, he thought, give me their minds'

tribute, and what they do with their bodies

is not my concern. He put his hand in his side

and drew out the thorn for the letting

of the ordained blood and touched her with

it. Go, he said. They shall come to you for ever

with their desire, and you shall bleed for them in return


The Woman Poem Summary:

The woman (Eve, the first woman) approaches God, and he himself is drawn back by the power of her beauty. Even the structure of her long body appears beautiful like a horizon. The poet comments out of admiration; why had God made such a beautiful creature? Now they (God and the woman) negotiate on the power of creating the human race. The woman says 'How about we divide the power without quarreling over it' and lures him to fall for it by offering, that he is the one who created humans initially so he can have the credits for the invention, but he should let her be the one to do the further creations. God looks deep inside her eyes and foresees the multiple generations that are about to navigate from her by the great stars (the human body is made of stardust) and he also observes the extension of the generation(he sees as if the human race would never become extinct). God then accepts her thoughts but he demands the people's minds' tributes (i.e. he wants the credit for all made by the human mind because he was the one who invented them with such capacity) and what they do with their bodies will not be his concern (i.e. he would let humans create their own race themselves and he wouldn’t bother). To bless the woman with what she asked, God puts out his hand, draws a thorn, and makes his pure blood spill out of his finger and touches her with it. Now he blesses her saying, 'You can go now to Earth and their men will forever come behind you with desire and you shall bleed (loose maidenhead) in order to create a life.


They shall come to you for ever with their desire,

and you shall bleed for them in return


~ Literpretation Team for Education

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