Thursday 26 June 2014

Dylan Thomas's Collected Poems 1934-1952 (New Directions, 1971), third and final selection

Today's the day I depart for the Dylan Thomas Centre to give a workshop using Thomas's notebooks and a reading. I finished rereading the Collected Poems just in time--though I think I may have drawn the reading out for the sake of making it last. Here's the last round of splendid passages.

My silly suit, hardly yet suffered for,
Around some coffin carrying
Birdman or told ghost I hung.


Now shown and mostly bare I would lie down,
Lie down, lie down and live
Quiet as a bone.

from "Once Below a Time"

No Time, spoke the clocks, no God, rang the bells,
I drew the white sheet over the islands
And the coins on my eyelids sang like shells.

last lines of "When I Woke"

O keep his bones away from that common cart,
The morning is flying on the wings of his age
And a hundred storks perch on the sun's right hand.

last lines of "Among Those Killed in the Dawn Raid
Was a Man Aged a Hundred"

Under the mile off moon we trembled listening
To the sea sound flowing like blood from the loud wound
And when the salt sheet broke in a storm of singing
The voices of all the drowned swam on the wind.

from "Lie Still, Sleep Becalmed"

...the wall thin as a wren's bone


...the splashed mothering maiden
Who bore him with a bonfire in
His mouth and rocked him like a storm....


For I was lost who have come
To dumbfounding haven
And the finding one
And the high noon
Of his wound
Blinds my


The world winding home!
And the whole pain
Flows open
And I

from "Vision and Prayer"

And he who taught their lips to sing
Weeps like the risen sun among
The liquid choirs of his tribes.

from "Ballad of the Long-Legged Bait"

        Time let me play and be
Golden in the mercy of his means


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....


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.

from "Fern Hill"
(which I would have liked to copy entire)

Sanctum santorum the animal eye of the wood
In the rain telling its beads, and the gravest ghost
The owl at its knelling.


                                              All tell, this night, of him
Who comes as red as the fox and sly as the heeled wind.

from "In Country Sleep"

And on seesaw sunday nights I wooed
Whoever I would with my wicked eyes,
The whole of the moon I could love and leave....


Whatsoever I did in the coal-
Black night, I left my quivering prints.

from "Lament"

And the daughters of darkness flame like Fawkes fires still.

last line of "In the White Giant's Thigh"

You can buy Dylan Thomas's Collected Poems from Foyle's Books for a mere £7.49 here.

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