5 June 2006

"Spellbound"

Here's a poem I want to share with you in which words are like music. The core "meaning" seems to me to surround the lost world of childhood - a golden time that's gone forever but more important is the delicious harmonies of the language - as if the poet - Dylan Thomas - was inebriated with words, rolling them round on his tongue, enjoying the feel of them, celebrating man's connections with nature.


dylant

Fern Hill by Dylan Thomas
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.

Like the American Dylan, this Dylan has always meant a lot to me. I have visited the village that became his adopted home in South Wales - Laugharne - many times. I once put flowers on his grave - a simple white wooden cross in Laugharne churchyard and I have drunk in Brown's Hotel and walked the paths that he walked. Sadly when you search for images of him on the web, he never comes back smiling or laughing - as if his word wrestling and poetic craftsmanship left him drained and morose, not quite in tune with the real world that most of us occupy... "though" he "sang in" his "chains like the sea".

12 comments:

  1. I didn't quite spend my childhood in 1920's wales but many jolly japes in the countryside were had and this is very evocative, hopefully to people who grew up in a city too and I should think we've all had a bit of a wistfull look back at childhood, or our own edited version of our childhood.

    I agree with you about the words YP and I think all poetry is to be read aloud, even if just by yourself because often in trying to analyse individuals words and lines the overall 'feel' is lost. ''Poetry shouldn't mean, it should just be'' as they say, or someone said anyway but I can't remember who

    Thomas was an interesting character, almost like a Coleridge or romantic poet in his viewpoint and manner of self destruction. Thanks for putting this one up here. I hope this doesn't sound like I claim to know anything about the subject because I don't but I do enjoy words and people who can make words into something beautiful

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  2. He was true bard was old Dylan.

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  3. Ah, the English language is indeed a thing of beauty when it flows from the hand of a true poet.

    Now I shall go about the rest of my day, basking in the glow of the memories of my own childhood in a blissful rural setting. Amazing how the conjuring up of said memories deafens one to the sounds of a city.

    Thanks for sharing.

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  7. I can't profess to understand it completely. It is beautiful.
    I heard a poem the other day in a movie, that I never heard before.
    "Brown Penny". Maybe it was just the way Christopher Plummer delivered it.
    As a child I used to read a book of poems my mom had, "101 Famous Poems". Really loved reading that.. in fact I used to make up songs to some of them. Lorenna McKinnet actually did publish one "The Highwayman".

    Nowadays..as then it's hard for me to settle my mind to read poetry.
    Anything really. I've never been able to read without skipping around.
    Possibly some time of attention deficit, but anyway here is one of my favorite poems:

    There's the wonderful love of a beautiful maid,
    And the love of a staunch true man,
    And the love of a baby that's unafraid--
    All have existed since time began.
    Bust the most wondeful love, the Love of all loves,
    Even greater than the love for a Mother,
    Is the infinite, tenderest, passionate love
    Of one dead drunk for another.

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  8. my bad Pudding, my computer kept telling me it didn't publish.. then suddenly there were tons of them
    Sorry.

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  9. Ars Poetica
    by Archibald MacLeish


    A poem should be palpable and mute
    As a globed fruit,

    Dumb
    As old medallions to the thumb,

    Silent as the sleeve-worn stone
    Of casement ledges where the moss has grown--

    A poem should be wordless
    As the flight of birds.

    *

    A poem should be motionless in time
    As the moon climbs,

    Leaving, as the moon releases
    Twig by twig the night-entangled trees,

    Leaving, as the moon behind the winter leaves,
    Memory by memory the mind--

    A poem should be motionless in time
    As the moon climbs.

    *

    A poem should be equal to:
    Not true.

    For all the history of grief
    An empty doorway and a maple leaf.

    For love
    The leaning grasses and two lights above the sea--

    A poem should not mean
    But be.

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  10. Lovely poem. I always wondered if poets new what they wanted to say in the poem before it was written or if the story just happened as the words hit the page.

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  11. On the fair side, however, there is a way out. When we've made up our minds that we we're through with a vampire (and it sounds like you are), we simply revoke our invitation. That's what it's called when we tell our vampire to hit the road: "Revoking our invitation."

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  12. Anonymous1:24 am

    Very pretty design! Keep up the good work. Thanks.
    »

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Mr Pudding welcomes all genuine comments - even those with which he disagrees. However, puerile or abusive comments from anonymous contributors will continue to be given the short shrift they deserve. Any spam comments that get through Google/Blogger defences will also be quickly deleted.