But creatures of time and space as we all are, we are yet haunted by dreams of eternity and we have a conception of ourselves as arresting the flow of time. When we love somebody, or we see something beautiful, or when we are experiencing something very wonderful or very strange which has a dreamlike quality about it, there is on that occasion something within us which wants to arrest this and keep it for ever, and we know that in so far as we are creatures of time and space this does not seem to be possible. Almost before we have really had our attention drawn to it either we have passed on or it has gone in the slip-stream and is no more. Most of us would feel that if only we had the gift of language, or if only we had the hand of the painter, or if only we were musicians, we should try to formalize and crystallize or trap this evanescent experience, and arrest it and take it out of the time-flow. And this is surely what the better poets are able to do.
20 May 2016
Creatures of Time and Space
R. S. Thomas, "The Making of a Poem," Selected Prose, ed. Sandra Anstey (Bridgend: Seren, 1995), p. 87: