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.:By Ronald Stuart Thomas:.
.:1913 –2000:.
I am a man now.
Pass your hand over my brow.
You can feel the place where the brains grow.
I am like a tree,
From my top boughs I can see
The footprints that led up to me.
There is blood in my veins
That has run clear of the stain
Contracted in so many loins.
Why, then, are my hands red
With the blood of so many dead?
Is this where I was misled?
Why are my hands this way
That they will not do as I say?
Does no God hear when I pray?
I have no where to go
The swift satellites show
The clock of my whole being is slow,
It is too late to start
For destinations not of the heart.
I must stay here with my hurt.
• Thomas was an supporter of CND which was a anti-nuclear
organization and described himself as a Pacifist.
• Ronald’s son, Gwydion, recalls his father "drone on" to
absurd lengths about the evil of refrigerators, washing
machines, televisions and other modern devices.
• He had a vision that modern devices would turn on their
owners and take over.
Ronald Stuart Thomas
• Thomas was born in Cardiff, the only child of Thomas and
Margaret Hubert.
• The family moved to Holyhead in 1918 due to his father's
work in the Navy
• In 1932, he was awarded a bursary to study at
the University College of North Wales.
• They married in 1940 and remained together until her death
in 1991.
About his Poems
• He himself said there is a "lack of love for human beings"
in his poetry.
• Others have said: "He was wonderful, very pure, very bitter
but the bitterness was beautifully and very sparely
• Structure of the poem consists of 7 Short Stanzas.
• Has Rhyme but cuts off at 3 Important Stages of the poem
Breakdown of the Poem
First Reading:
- Noticed that it had rhyme but cut off unexpectedly 3 times
- First Person Perspective
- Question Marks after the last words of the second and third
line of stanza 5 and 6.
- “Blood” that may relate to war and “God” that may relate to
Breakdown of the Poem
Poem to the Left 
From the First Stanza, we can see that the ends of the First
and Second Line rhyme but the Third line doesn’t rhyme.
This Repeats in the Third and Seventh Stanza. This
symbolises a change in tone as Thomas begins to talk
about himself but gets confused of what has happened
and he starts questioning his past.
“I must stay here with my hurt”
With the last line, not fitting in with the rhyme gives me a
idea that this is his final idea, “must stay” implies he HAS
to stay with his hurt like its his duty or that its his fault
that they are hurt and he has to protect them because if
he doesn’t then he would feel the guilt of what he has
Breakdown of the Poem
“I am a man now”
The word “now” tells me that Thomas is talking about the Present and not the past and having
enough confidence to say that he is a “man” would mean he has been through experiences that
has toughened him up to what he is now.
“Pass your hand over my brow. You can feel the place where the brains
The main Idea I get from this War. This idea of War could also back up my idea from what I said
about the first line, War has made him go through terrible situations which he was survived and
gained knowledge about.
“The place where the brain grows”
Gives a vivid image of a Gash or a healed up wound where large Scar has been formed. Similar to
the Aftermath of a King Crab slicing the skin of someone's forehead with incredibly sharp
pincers that cut him very, very deep.
“The footprints that led up to me”
The footprints represent each individual step Thomas has taken to get to where he is now. Earlier he
describes himself as a “tree”. This may be a metaphor for Age and how much he has succeeded
and risen in the ranks of life and now he can relax and look back on how he got there.
Breakdown of the Poem
“Contracted in so many loins”
With “loins” being the fleshy bit of the upper thigh, this may suggest a double meaning with one
being of sexual nature and the other being the tender loin of beef which is very nice and
nutritious. What I get from this line is something sexual, “contracted” means to become shorter
or become tighter and the loins is very close to the bodys reproductive organ and what I get
fom this line is that he is reminiscing about all the great intercourse he has hard during the
times of when he was young.
“Why, then are my hands red”
Start of a new tone. There are many things the colour red may suggest, for starters Fire or Anger,
or maybe Blood or Danger. Here we are presently with a bloody image of Death and Murder,
maybe a knife or pair or scissors or I could be completely wrong and it could represent a
Honorable soldier picking up a fallen comrade in the middle of a battle and dragging him behind
a barrier to save him. But the question “Why” arises, and is clouded over by confusion.
This Confusion is reinforced by a later line “Is this where I was misled?”
Again, another rhetorical question which further more reinforces the feeling of helplessness and
Breakdown of the Poem
“Why are my hands this way”, “Does no God hear when I pray?”
The sense of helplessness and despair continues on as he thinks of this past more and more and
now he suddenly turns on religion as to put all the blame it. His voice is full of uncertainty as he
prays to god with no sign of a change and doubts that there is even a “God” that exists to pray
to and that all Gods are just made up lies that people believe in to have a little hope.
“I have nowhere to go”, “The clock of my whole being is slow”
The tone is quite sad and mellow now as if he has given up all hope on what to do next. The sense of
helplessness is dragging over and dampening his spirits and now he notices that his body is
aging and growing old. Everything he does now is slower and requires much more effort than
what it used to.
“It is too late to start”, “I must stay here with my Hurt”
The poem ends with a sad, depressing note. “Too Late” Thomas has lost all hope for anything can
could happen, instead he has decided to settle down and stay with “my Hurt”. The Hurt he talks
about could be the feeling of regret that he has to live the end of his life feeling helpless and not
knowing what more he can do.
The whole poem is full with Guilt, Sorrow, Regret and Confusion. The
other side of the poem is to see the “one man” as “every man” but I
didn’t see it that way so I didn’t put it in.
By Michael Y.

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