Encountering God through poetry: The Bright Field

For this prayer exercise, we will use the same technique as in lectio divina, but apply it to R.S. Thomas’ poem, The Bright Field, a poem which captures a glimpse, perhaps, of Jesus’ kingdom of heaven:

The Bright Field


I have seen the sun break through

to illuminate a small field

for a while, and gone my way

and forgotten it. But that was the

pearl of great price, the one field that had

treasure in it. I realise now

that I must give all that I have

to possess it. Life is not hurrying


on to a receding future, nor hankering after

an imagined past. It is the turning

aside like Moses to the miracle

of the lit bush, to a brightness

that seemed as transitory as your youth

once, but is the eternity that awaits you.



Listen to the poem or read it through, preferably aloud.

Let the words, the rhythm, the tone of the poem speak to you.


Now read it again, slowly (lectio). Ask God to highlight a word or phrase for you to concentrate on.


Stay with your word or phrase (meditatio). You may wish to repeat it silently to yourself. Allow the word to speak to you. You may find the word arouses different emotions in you; let them come. Stay in silence with your word or phrase for a few minutes.


Now, as you feel able, respond to God from what you have experienced (oratio). You may want to express yourself in words; you may want to write or draw something in response; you may want to move or dance to express what you are feeling; you may want to just allow your emotions to express something to God.


Finally, allow yourself to rest in the presence of your Holy, Loving Creator (contemplatio). Stay in silence with whatever you have experienced. Allow God’s love for you to hold you.