Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Today's poem by Dylan Thomas

Fern Hill

Now as I was young and easy under the apple boughs
About the lilting house and happy as the grass was green,
The night above the dingle starry,
Time let me hail and climb
Golden in the heydays of his eyes,
And honoured among wagons I was prince of the apple towns
And once below a time I lordly had the trees and leaves
Trail with daisies and barley
Down the rivers of the windfall light.

And as I was green and carefree, famous among the barns
About the happy yard and singing as the farm was home,
In the sun that is young once only,
Time let me play and be
Golden in the mercy of his means,
And green and golden I was huntsman and herdsman, the calves
Sang to my horn, the foxes on the hills barked clear and cold,
And the sabbath rang slowly
In the pebbles of the holy streams.

All the sun long it was running, it was lovely, the hay
Fields high as the house, the tunes from the chimneys, it was air
And playing, lovely and watery
And fire green as grass.
And nightly under the simple stars
As I rode to sleep the owls were bearing the farm away,
All the moon long I heard, blessed among stables, the nightjars
Flying with the ricks, and the horses
Flashing into the dark.

And then to awake, and the farm, like a wanderer white
With the dew, come back, the cock on his shoulder: it was all
Shining, it was Adam and maiden,
The sky gathered again
And the sun grew round that very day.
So it must have been after the birth of the simple light
In the first, spinning place, the spellbound horses walking warm
Out of the whinnying green stable
On to the fields of praise.

And honoured among foxes and pheasants by the gay house
Under the new made clouds and happy as the heart was long,
In the sun born over and over,
I ran my heedless ways,
My wishes raced through the house high hay
And nothing I cared, at my sky blue trades, that time allows
In all his tuneful turning so few and such morning songs
Before the children green and golden
Follow him out of grace,

Nothing I cared, in the lamb white days, that time would take me
Up to the swallow thronged loft by the shadow of my hand,
In the moon that is always rising,
Nor that riding to sleep
I should hear him fly with the high fields
And wake to the farm forever fled from the childless land.
Oh as I was young and easy in the mercy of his means,
Time held me green and dying
Though I sang in my chains like the sea.

Dylan Thomas (1914-1953)


  1. Oh, love this poem. He had such a way...

  2. Oh when I saw his photograph, I hoped you had posted Fern Hill. One of my favourite collections of words in the world. Magic.

  3. Replies
    1. It is really so wonderful. I see something new every time.

  4. One of my very favorites! Along with "In My Craft or Sullen Art" and our copy of "A Child's Christmas in Wales." I gave copies of "A Child's Christmas" to each of my grandchildren last year.

    1. Have I asked you if you've seen the video of A Child's Christmas in Wales? Wonderful. I watch it most every December.

  5. This is so beautiful.....It reminded me this:

    by Edna St. Vincent Millay

    To what purpose, April, do you return again?
    Beauty is not enough.
    You can no longer quiet me with the redness
    Of little leaves opening stickily.
    I know what I know.
    The sun is hot on my neck as I observe
    The spikes of the crocus.
    The smell of the earth is good.
    It is apparent that there is no death.
    But what does that signify?
    Not only under ground are the brains of men
    Eaten by maggots.
    Life in itself
    Is nothing,
    An empty cup, a flight of uncarpeted stairs.
    It is not enough that yearly, down this hill,
    Comes like an idiot, babbling and strewing flowers.

    But I think prefer Thomas who gives us so much more beauty in his path to knowledge.

  6. Oh, yeah, I agree! I like DT much better.

  7. Nan, won a jubilee tea towel over at My Porch. I am happy that it will make its way into your well-used farm kitchen. Email me your adress onmyporch (at) hotmail (dot) com

  8. Fern Hill has been a favorite since my teacher in English 12 introduced it. I read 'swallow-thronged loft' and I'm back in my Grampa Mac's big Vermont hay barn with the nests of the swallows plastered against the high rafters, the white beaky faces of swallow babies peeking out.

    1. And we have phoebes in the barn!
      There is nothing like the smell of hay. We don't hay fields and store it, but buy from the store a couple times a week. It still smells wonderful.

  9. He writes as it feels to be young - again. Just the most beautiful language.
    Thanks for posting it.

    1. I feel like he never really grew up, or away from his childhood. I guess none of us do, really, and that's why he touches our souls. Oh,oh. Just love his writing.

  10. Thanks, Nan. My all-time favorite Dylan poem!

    1. I agree until I think of Child's Christmas in Wales. And then I think of And Death Shall Have No Dominion, and Do Not Go Gentle Into That Good Night. My mother had a record of him reading his work, and she listened to those last two poems a lot after my father died.
      And I thank you for the inspiration to put Fern Hill up on the blog.

  11. What a genius! He was a magician with words! What must it have been like inside his head, behind his eyes?

    Hello....I have just found your lovely blog :))

    1. Love what you wrote about him.
      And I'm happy you did, as I was to find yours.


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