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English Poem The Vanishing Village (R. S. Thomas) Reference Context Explanation

English Poem The Vanishing Village (R. S. Thomas)

 

Poem:

Scarcely a street, too few houses
To merit the title; just a way between
The one tavern and the one shop
That leads nowhere and fails at the top
Of the short hill, eaten away
By long erosion of the green tide
Of grass creeping perpetually nearer
This last outpost of time passed.
 
So little happens; the black dog
Cracking his fleas in the hot sun
Is history. Yet the girl who crosses
From door to door moves to a scale
Beyond the bland day’s two dimensions.
 
Stay, then, village, for round you spins
On a slow axis a world as vast
And meaningful as any posed
By great Plato’s solitary mind.

Reference, Context and Explanation

Lines 1-8: Scarcely a street … of time passed.

Scarcely a street, too few houses
To merit the title; just a way between
The one tavern and the one shop
That leads nowhere and fails at the top
Of the short hill, eaten away
By long erosion of the green tide
Of grass creeping perpetually nearer
This last outpost of time passed.

Reference:

These lines have been taken from “The Vanishing Village” written by R. S. Thomas.

Context:

The poet describes a deserted and neglected village in this poem. There is only one street, a few houses, one inn and a shop in the village. The street leads nowhere. He wishes for the betterment of the village.

Explanation:

The poet tells us in these lines about the deserted village. There are only a few houses in a street which goes on the top of the hill. Later on, the street comes to an end: it leads nowhere. There is also one shop and one inn in the village. The street is overgrown at both sides with greenery. It is the last outpost/hall mark of the village but slowly and steadily this mark is vanishing with the onward rush of time.

Lines 9-13: So little happens … two dimensions.

So little happens; the black dog
Cracking his fleas in the hot sun
Is history. Yet the girl who crosses
From door to door moves to a scale
Beyond the bland day’s two dimensions.

Reference:

These lines have been taken from “The Vanishing Village” written by R. S. Thomas.

Context:

The poet describes a deserted and neglected village in this poem. There is only one street, a few houses, one inn and a shop in the village. The street leads nowhere. He wishes for the betterment of the village.

Explanation:

Nothing of any importance happens in this disappearing and deserted village. The poet can see a historic and old black dog sitting in the sun and moving its tail to crack/strike at the fleas that are sticking to its skin and disturbing it. The dog is a symbol of the destroyed “present” of the village. But just there is also a “future” _ it is the girl who is going from one door to another. She cannot be captured through the two dimensions of time and space of the gentle “present” day as she is a symbol of future. She guarantees a better future for the village through her third dimensions: her enthusiastic spirit and soul.

Lines 14-17: Stay, then village … solitary mind.

Stay, then, village, for round you spins
On a slow axis a world as vast
And meaningful as any posed
By great Plato’s solitary mind.

Reference:

These lines have been taken from “The Vanishing Village” written by R. S. Thomas.

Context:

The poet describes a deserted and neglected village in this poem. There is only one street, a few houses, one inn and a shop in the village. The street leads nowhere. He wishes for the betterment of the village.

Explanation:

The poet prays for the life and prosperity of the vanishing village and says that actually village is the basic unit of man’s population in this world. The vast and meaningful world moves around the axis of village. Even the great plan of the world of soul and matter thought out by Plato’s great mind had importance for such a basic unit.

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