Thursday, October 27, 2011

Today's poem by Dylan Thomas

In honor of what would have been his 97th birthday.

Poem in October

It was my thirtieth year to heaven
Woke to my hearing from harbour and neighbour wood
And the mussel pooled and the heron
Priested shore
The morning beckon
With water praying and call of seagull and rook
And the knock of sailing boats on the net webbed wall
Myself to set foot
That second
In the still sleeping town and set forth.

My birthday began with the water-
Birds and the birds of the winged trees flying my name
Above the farms and the white horses
And I rose
In the rainy autumn
And walked abroad in a shower of all my days.
High tide and the heron dived when I took the road
Over the border
And the gates
Of the town closed as the town awoke.

A springful of larks in a rolling
Cloud and the roadside bushes brimming with whistling
Blackbirds and the sun of October
On the hill's shoulder,
Here were fond climates and sweet singers suddenly
Come in the morning where I wandered and listened
To the rain wringing
Wind blow cold
In the woods faraway under me.

Pale rain over the dwindling harbour
And over the sea wet church the size of a snail
With its horns through mist and the castle
Brown as owls
But all the gardens
Of spring and summer were blooming in the tall tales
Beyond the border and under the lark full cloud.
There could I marvel
My birthday
Away but the weather turned around.

It turned away from the blithe country
And down the other air and the blue altered sky
Streamed again a wonder of summer
With apples
Pears and red currants
And I saw in the turning so clearly a child's
Forgotten mornings when he walked with his mother
Through the parables
Of sun light
And the legends of the green chapels

And the twice told fields of infancy
That his tears burned my cheeks and his heart moved in mine.
These were the woods the river and sea
Where a boy
In the listening
Summertime of the dead whispered the truth of his joy
To the trees and the stones and the fish in the tide.
And the mystery
Sang alive
Still in the water and singingbirds.

And there could I marvel my birthday
Away but the weather turned around. And the true
Joy of the long dead child sang burning
In the sun.
It was my thirtieth
Year to heaven stood there then in the summer noon
Though the town below lay leaved with October blood.
O may my heart's truth
Still be sung
On this high hill in a year's turning.

Dylan Thomas (1914-1953)


  1. Oh lovely, Nan, thank you! I read it twice. Such a wonderful tumble of words.

    And the word verification is "tralable" which is a rather Thomas-y word in itself - it could have come from Under Milk Wood!

  2. Reading Dylan Thomas is always an enormous pleasure. Thankyou for posting that favourite poem, Nan.

  3. I'm just catching up on blogs and here I find Dylan Thomas, Nan. A perfect poem for his day of birth and for the mood and feel of our day here in the midwest.

  4. Geranium Cat, and I read it over and over out loud as I was putting it up on the blog. I just love his poetry. Cute about the w.v. You are right!

    Cornflower, you are welcome. It was a joy to read this morning.

    Penny, it is a perfect, perfect poem.

  5. I love your book cases and all your books! Plus I see you collect teacups and saucers too! I wish I had some built-ins as nice as yours. My books are stored willy nilly in book cases all over the house. What a nice room you have!

  6. Thank you, Jill. I don't really 'collect' them. I got some as a child, and some when my aunt died, and one from a friend. But that's it. The only things I really buy and collect is books and music. :<) I have another small built-in book shelf in the bedroom, cookbooks on two kitchen shelves, and three book shelves in the living room. :<) Ah, they make me happy.

    Strummed Words, yes they are, and to read this poem aloud is so wonderful.

  7. Thanks for sharing that! I generally do not read poetry, but I like the small bits that people share on their blogs :-)

  8. What wonderful imagery, wonderful words! My husband has, in fact many people I love have, a birthday in October. This is a must-share for them. Thanks, Nan. Dylan Thomas is such a great poet; I should invest in one of his books.

  9. Perhaps one of my favorite poet of all time. A Child's Christmas in Wales is definitely my favorite read each Christmas.

  10. Aarti, I really think that poetry says what we often never express - what is in our hearts and thoughts.

    Bellezza, isn't it just perfectly wonderful!

    Jenclair, have you ever seen the television version? It is the best! It is a bit expensive online to buy the dvd, but I promise you it is worth it.

  11. I love Dylan Thomas and thank you for posting a poem of his. My dad was a Welshman too so Dylan Thomas was very much a part of our lives growing up.

  12. Alex, I love his images and the way his words are almost music.

  13. I love your poem days. I have not read Dylan Thomas and now I want to do so.

    I am listening to NPR and catching up and I just focused in on your beautiful library header shot -- felt like I was sitting right there as I listened (you forgot to pour me a cup of tea though ;>).)
    Then suddenly I remembered that I came here to catch up on your latest posts -- I'm glad I remembered because as always this one was well worth it (I turned off the radio and just read and enjoyed).

  14. Sallie, you are so nice. I can't tell you how I appreciate your kindness.


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