The Other by Rev. Ronald Stuart Thomas (1913-2000)

For Rev. Thomas Owen who lost his only son Vernon Elias Owen in WWI

Rev. Thomas Owen was vicar of St Hywyn, Aberdaron, near Pwllheli on the tip of the beautiful Lleyn Peninsular, when, in November 1915, news came to the vicarage that his only son, Vernon Elias Owen had been killed in action.

Rev. Ronald Stuart Thomas (1913-2000), hailed as Wales's most outstanding poet of the 20th century, was subsequently incumbent at Aberdaron for eleven years. His poem The Other is inscribed on slate in the church.

St Hywyn church

Members of Vernon’s family must have experienced sleepless nights in the vicarage such as those described in the poem. It is to be hoped that their belief in that other being brought them comfort in their loss.

There are nights that are so still
that I can hear the small owl calling
far off and a fox barking
miles away. It is then that I lie
in the lean hours awake listening
to the swell born somewhere in
the Atlantic
rising and falling, rising and falling
wave on wave on the long shore
by the village that is without light
and companionless. And the
thought comes
of that other being who is
awake, too,
letting our prayers break on him,
not like this for a few hours,
but for days, years, for eternity.