What Is the Poem “90th Birthday” by Ronald S. Thomas About?

The poem “90th Birthday” by Ronald S. Thomas describes the impressions formed by an individual who visits an old woman in a relatively secluded area. The scene unfolds in an elevated spot high above the sea and tree line.

According to PoemHunter.net, religion was often a major theme of Thomas’ work, but he also wrote about nature and Welsh history. In the case of “90th Birthday,” there are references to lichen-covered rocks, clusters of ferns, insects, trickling streams and a trail that might accommodate a car but is best covered on foot.

Upon reaching a stone farm at the top of the incline, the narrator finds an old woman awaiting the visitor’s arrival. References to her knowing a place that exists only in her memory and of listening to words that were once wise imply the woman is no longer as mentally competent as she used to be.