Poet of the Month

DYLAN THOMAS 1913- 1952

“I make one image – though ‘make’ is not the word; I let, perhaps, an image be ‘made’ emotionally in me and then apply to it what intellectual and critical forces I possess; let it breed another, let that image contradict the first; make of the third image, bred out of the other two together, a fourth contradictory image, and let them all, within my imposed forced limits, conflict….Out of the inevitable conflict of images – inevitable, because of the creative, recreative, destructive and contradictory nature of the motivating centre, the womb of war – I try to make that momentary peace which is a poem” Dylan Thomas in a conversation with C Day Lewis

READ ABOUT THOMAS’ LIFE AND WORK

WEBSITES

Thomas site maintained by the poet’s son

 

This day winding down now
At God speeded summer’s end
In the torrent salmon sun,
In my seashaken house
On a breakneck of rocks
Tangled with chirrup and fruit,
Froth, flute, fin, and quill
At a wood’s dancing hoof,
By scummed, starfish sands
With their fishwife cross
Gulls, pipers, cockles, and snails,
Out there, crow black, men
Tackled with clouds, who kneel
To the sunset nets,
Geese nearly in heaven, boys
Stabbing, and herons, and shells
That speak seven seas,
Eternal waters away
From the cities of nine
Days’ night whose towers will catch
In the religious wind
Like stalks of tall, dry straw,
At poor peace I sing
To you strangers (though song
Is a burning and crested act,
The fire of birds in
The world’s turning wood,
For my swan, splay sounds),
Out of these seathumbed leaves
That will fly and fall
Like leaves of trees and as soon
Crumble and undie
Into the dogdayed night.
Seaward the salmon, sucked sun slips,
And the dumb swans drub blue
My dabbed bay’s dusk, as I hack
This rumpus of shapes
For you to know
How I, a spining man,
Glory also this star, bird
Roared, sea born, man torn, blood blest.
Hark: I trumpet the place,
From fish to jumping hill! Look:
I build my bellowing ark
To the best of my love
As the flood begins,
Out of the fountainhead
Of fear, rage read, manalive,
Molten and mountainous to stream
Over the wound asleep
Sheep white hollow farms
To Wales in my arms.
Hoo, there, in castle keep,
You king singsong owls, who moonbeam
The flickering runs and dive
The dingle furred deer dead!
Huloo, on plumbed bryns,
O my ruffled ring dove
in the hooting, nearly dark
With Welsh and reverent rook,
Coo rooning the woods’ praise,
who moons her blue notes from her nest
Down to the curlew herd!
Ho, hullaballoing clan
Agape, with woe
In your beaks, on the gabbing capes!
Heigh, on horseback hill, jack
Whisking hare! who
Hears, there, this fox light, my flood ship’s
Clangour as I hew and smite
(A clash of anvils for my
Hubbub and fiddle, this tune
On atounged puffball)
But animals thick as theives
On God’s rough tumbling grounds
(Hail to His beasthood!).
Beasts who sleep good and thin,
Hist, in hogback woods! The haystacked
Hollow farms ina throng
Of waters cluck and cling,
And barnroofs cockcrow war!
O kingdom of neighbors finned
Felled and quilled, flash to my patch
Work ark and the moonshine
Drinking Noah of the bay,
With pelt, and scale, and fleece:
Only the drowned deep bells
Of sheep and churches noise
Poor peace as the sun sets
And dark shoals every holy field.
We will ride out alone then,
Under the stars of Wales,
Cry, Multiudes of arks! Across
The water lidded lands,
Manned with their loves they’ll move
Like wooden islands, hill to hill.
Huloo, my prowed dove with a flute!
Ahoy, old, sea-legged fox,
Tom tit and Dai mouse!
My ark sings in the sun
At God speeded summer’s end
And the flood flowers now.

The force that through the green fuse drives the flower

The force that through the green fuse drives the flower 
Drives my green age; that blasts the roots of trees 
Is my destroyer. 
And I am dumb to tell the crooked rose 
My youth is bent by the same wintry fever. 
The force that drives the water through the rocks 
Drives my red blood; that dries the mouthing streams 
Turns mine to wax. 
And I am dumb to mouth unto my veins 
How at the mountain spring the same mouth sucks. 
The hand that whirls the water in the pool 
Stirs the quicksand; that ropes the blowing wind 
Hauls my shroud sail. 
And I am dumb to tell the hanging man 
How of my clay is made the hangman’s lime. 
The lips of time leech to the fountain head; 
Love drips and gathers, but the fallen blood 
Shall calm her sores. 
And I am dumb to tell a weather’s wind 
How time has ticked a heaven round the stars. 
And I am dumb to tell the lover’s tomb 
How at my sheet goes the same crooked worm. 

POEM ON HIS BIRTHDAY 
 

      In the mustardseed sun,
   By full tilt river and switchback sea
      Where the cormorants scud,
   In his house on stilts high among beaks
      And palavers of birds
   This sandgrain day in the bent bay’s grave
      He celebrates and spurns
   His driftwood thirty-fifth wind turned age;
      Herons spire and spear.

      Under and round him go
   Flounders, gulls, on their cold, dying trails,
      Doing what they are told,
   Curlews aloud in the congered waves
      Work at their ways to death,
   And the rhymer in the long tongued room,
      Who tolls his birthday bell,
   Toils towards the ambush of his wounds;
      Herons, steeple stemmed, bless.

      In the thistledown fall,
   He sings towards anguish; finches fly
      In the claw tracks of hawks
   On a seizing sky; small fishes glide
      Through wynds and shells of drowned
   Ship towns to pastures of otters. He
      In his slant, racking house
   And the hewn coils of his trade perceives
      Herons walk in their shroud,

      The livelong river’s robe
   Of minnows wreathing around their prayer;
      And far at sea he knows,
   Who slaves to his crouched, eternal end
      Under a serpent cloud,
   Dolphins dive in their turnturtle dust,
      The rippled seals streak down
   To kill and their own tide daubing blood
      Slides good in the sleek mouth.

      In a cavernous, swung
   Wave’s silence, wept white angelus knells.
      Thirty-five bells sing struck
   On skull and scar where his loves lie wrecked,
      Steered by the falling stars.
   And to-morrow weeps in a blind cage
      Terror will rage apart
   Before chains break to a hammer flame
      And love unbolts the dark

      And freely he goes lost
   In the unknown, famous light of great
      And fabulous, dear God.
   Dark is a way and light is a place,
      Heaven that never was
   Nor will be ever is alwas true,
      And, in that brambled void,
   Plenty as blackberries in the woods
      The dead grow for His joy.

      There he might wander bare
   With the spirits of the horseshoe bay
      Or the stars’ seashore dead,
   Marrow of eagles, the roots of whales
      And wishbones of wild geese,
   With blessed, unborn God and His Ghost,
      And every soul His priest,
   Gulled and chanter in young Heaven’s fold
      Be at cloud quaking peace,

      But dark is a long way.
   He, on the earth of the night, alone
      With all the living, prays,
   Who knows the rocketing wind will blow
      The bones out of the hills,
   And the scythed boulders bleed, and the last
      Rage shattered waters kick
   Masts and fishes to the still quick stars,
      Faithlessly unto Him

      Who is the light of old
   And air shaped Heaven where souls grow wild
      As horses in the foam:
   Oh, let me midlife mourn by the shrined
      And druid herons’ vows
   The voyage to ruin I must run,
      Dawn ships clouted aground,
   Yet, though I cry with tumbledown tongue,
      Count my blessings aloud:

      Four elements and five
   Senses, and man a spirit in love
      Tangling through this spun slime
   To his nimbus bell cool kingdom come
      And the lost, moonshine domes,
   And the sea that hides his secret selves
      Deep in its black, base bones,
   Lulling of spheres in the seashell flesh,
      And this last blessing most,

      That the closer I move
   To death, one man through his sundered hulks,
      The louder the sun blooms
   And the tusked, ramshackling sea exults;
      And every wave of the way
   And gale I tackle, the whole world then,
      With more triumphant faith
   Than ever was since the world was said,
      Spins its morning of praise,

      I hear the bouncing hills
   Grow larked and greener at berry brown
      Fall and the dew larks sing
   Taller this thunderclap spring, and how
      More spanned with angels ride
   The mansouled fiery islands! Oh,
      Holier then their eyes,
   And my shining men no more alone
      As I sail out to die

 

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