Tuesday, November 4, 2014

Tuesday Poem: "Poem in October" by Dylan Thomas


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 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
                  Summery
            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 wood 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.


by Dylan Thomas


Last Labour Day Monday here in New Zealand coincided with the birthday of Dylan Marlais Thomas who was born on October 27, 1914, in Uplands, Swansea, Wales.

So, since he was born in the month of October, this seemed an appropriate poem to post, although we've just squeaked into November now.

Dylan Thomas. Image: Hulton Archive/Getty. Tinting by Dan Murrell
For more information about Dylan Thomas, see here:



2 comments:

  1. It's a wonderful poem. Haven't come across it before. Would love to have heard him read it! Thanks for posting.

    ReplyDelete
  2. He had a voice made for reading, didn't he, Helen? It dripped into your ears like aural honey, boyo!

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