THE LIFE AND WORK OF DYLAN THOMAS
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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
         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.




From Dylan Thomas: The Poems, published by J.M. Dent & Sons Ltd., London, 1971
Copyright © 1937, 1945, 1955, 1956, 1962, 1965, 1966, 1967, 1971, 1977 The Trustees for the Copyrights of Dylan Thomas.



The Life And Work Of Dylan Thomas written, designed, and copyright (except where otherwise noted) © by Willem Jonkman. All rights reserved. Contact: editor@undermilkwood.net

Copyright for the works of Dylan Thomas on this site © 1937, 1945, 1955, 1956, 1962, 1965, 1966, 1967, 1971, 1977 The Trustees for the Copyrights of Dylan Thomas. Copyright for the recording of Under Milk Wood used on this site, © 1963, 1995 BBC Worldwide Ltd. Most works on this site are read by the author, using embedded audio-files which require Adobe Flash Player. Listening is best experienced using a broadband connection (DSL, cable, T1) in order to enjoy seamless play of this site's audio features.

Acknowledgements: Constantine FitzGibbon, The Life Of Dylan Thomas © 1965; Annis Pratt, Dylan Thomas' Early Prose: A Study In Creative Mythology © 1970; Andrew Sinclair, Dylan Thomas © 1975; Paul Ferris, Dylan Thomas - A Biography © 1977; John Ackerman, Welsh Dylan © 1979; Susan Richardson, The Legacy Of Dylan Thomas In Wales © 2000; Joan Gooding, Britain's Last Romantic Poet: Dylan Thomas © 2000.