Dylan Thomas: Wikis


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Dylan Thomas
Born 27 October 1914[1]
Swansea, South Wales, UK[1]
Died 9 November 1953 (aged 39)[1]
New York, USA[1]
Occupation Poet and writer
Literary movement Modernism
Spouse(s) Caitlin Macnamara (1937–1953)
Children Llewellyn Edouard Thomas (1939–2000)
Aeronwy Bryn Thomas (1943–2009)
Colm Garan Hart Thomas (b. 1949)

Dylan Marlais Thomas (27 October 1914 – 9 November 1953) was a Welsh poet and writer[1][2] who wrote exclusively in English. In addition to poetry, he wrote short stories and scripts for film and radio, which he often performed himself. His public readings, particularly in America, won him great acclaim; his sonorous voice with a subtle Welsh lilt became almost as famous as his works. His best-known works include the "play for voices" Under Milk Wood and the celebrated villanelle for his dying father, Do not go gentle into that good night. Appreciative critics have also noted the superb craftsmanship and compression of poems such as In my craft or sullen art[3] and the rhapsodic lyricism of Fern Hill.


Early life

5 Cwmdonkin Drive, birthplace of Dylan Thomas

Dylan Thomas was born at 5 Cwmdonkin Drive in the Uplands area of Swansea, South Wales, on 27 of October 1914 just a few months after the new house was bought by the Thomas family. Uplands was, and still is, one of the more affluent areas of the city, which kept him away from the more industrial areas. His father, David John ('DJ') Thomas, was an English master who taught English literature at the local grammar school. His mother, Florence Hannah Thomas (née Williams), was a seamstress born in Swansea. Dylan had a sister, Nancy, nine years older than him. Their father brought up both children to speak English only, even though both parents also knew Welsh and DJ was known to give Welsh lessons at home to children.

Dylan is pronounced [ˈdəlan] in Welsh, and in the early part of his career some announcers introduced him using this pronunciation. However, Dylan himself favoured the anglicised pronunciation /ˈdɪlən/ his mother was afraid that the Welsh pronunciation would be corrupted into 'Dull One'[citation needed]. His middle name, Marlais, was given to him in honour of his great-uncle, Unitarian minister William Thomas, whose bardic name was Gwilym Marles.

His childhood was spent largely in Swansea, with regular summer trips to visit his maternal aunt's Carmarthenshire dairy farm. These rural sojourns and the contrast with the town life of Swansea provided inspiration for much of his work, notably many short stories, radio essays and the poem Fern Hill. Thomas was known to be a sickly child who shied away from school and preferred reading on his own and was considered too frail to fight in World War II, instead serving the war effort by writing scripts for the government. He suffered from bronchitis and asthma.

Thomas's formal education began at Mrs. Hole's 'Dame School', a private school, which was situated a few streets away on Mirador Crescent. He described his experience there in Quite Early One Morning (New Directions Publishing, 1968).

Never was there such a dame school as ours, so firm and kind and smelling of galoshes, with the sweet and fumbled music of the piano lessons drifting down from upstairs to the lonely schoolroom, where only the sometimes tearful wicked sat over undone sums, or to repent a little crime — the pulling of a girl's hair during geography, the sly shin kick under the table during English literature."

In October 1925, Thomas attended the single-sex Swansea Grammar School, in the Mount Pleasant district of the city. Thomas's first poem was published in the school's magazine, of which he later became an editor. He left school at 16 to become a reporter for the local newspaper, the South Wales Daily Post only to leave the job under pressure 18 months later in 1932. He then joined an amateur dramatic group in Mumbles, but still continued to work as a freelance journalist for a few more years.

Thomas spent his days visiting the cinema in the Uplands, walking along Swansea Bay, and frequenting Swansea's public houses, especially those in the Mumbles area, the 'Antelope Hotel' and 'The Mermaid Hotel'; a theatre he used to perform at, among them. Thomas was also a regular patron of the 'Kardomah Café' in Castle Street in the centre of Swansea, a short walk from the local newspaper for which he worked, where he mingled with various contemporaries, such as his good friend poet Vernon Watkins. These poets, musicians, and artists became known as 'The Kardomah Gang'.

In 1932, Thomas embarked on what would be one of his various visits to London.

In February 1941, Swansea was bombed by the Luftwaffe in a 'three nights' blitz'. Castle Street was just one of the many streets in Swansea that suffered badly; the rows of shops, including the 'Kardomah Café', were destroyed. Thomas later wrote about this in his radio play Return Journey Home, in which he describes the café as being "razed to the snow". Return Journey Home was first broadcast on 15 June 1947, having been written soon after the bombing raids. Thomas walked the bombed-out shell which was once his home town centre with his friend Bert Trick. Upset at the sight, he concluded, "Our Swansea is dead". The 'Kardomah Café' later reopened on Portland street, not far from the original location.


Thomas wrote half of his poems and many short stories while living at 5 Cwmdonkin Drive; And death shall have no dominion is one of his best known works written at this address. His highly acclaimed[4] first poetry volume, 18 Poems, was published on 18 December 1934, the same year he moved to London. The publication of 18 Poems won him many new admirers from the world of poetry, including Edith Sitwell; although it was also the time that his reputation for heavy drinking developed. The house itself has recently been restored to its original condition.

At the outset of the Second World War Dylan was designated C3, which meant that although he could, in theory, be called up for service he would be in one of the last groups to be so. He was saddened to see his friends enter active service leaving him behind and drank whilst struggling to support his family. He wrote to the director of the films division of the Ministry of Information asking for employment but after a rebuff eventually ended up working for Strand Films. Strand produced films for the Ministry of Information and Thomas scripted at least five in 1942 with titles such as This Is Colour (about dye), New Towns For Old, These Are The Men and Our Country (a sentimental tour of Britain).[5]

The publication of Deaths and Entrances in 1946 was a major turning point[6][7][8] in his career. Thomas was well known for being a versatile and dynamic speaker, best known for his poetry readings.[9] His powerful voice would captivate American audiences during his speaking tours of the early 1950s. He made over 200 broadcasts for the BBC. Often considered his greatest single work is Under Milk Wood, a radio play featuring the characters of Llareggub, a fictional Welsh fishing village (humorously named; note that 'Llareggub' is 'Bugger All' backwards, implying that there is absolutely nothing to do there). The BBC credited their producer Stella Hillier with ensuring the play actually materialised. Assigned "some of the more wayward characters who were then writing for the BBC", she dragged the notoriously unreliable Thomas out of the pub and back to her office to finish the work.[10]

The play took several years to write. The first half was mostly written in South Leigh, Oxford, in 1948, whilst the second half was mostly written in America in May 1953. Fewer than 300 lines were written in Laugharne, according to one account, which also explains the influence of New Quay on the play.[11]

Thomas performed Under Milk Wood solo for the first time on 3rd May in Harvard during his early 1953 United States tour, and then with a cast at the Poetry Centre in New York on 14th May. He worked on the play in England, and returned to the States in October, dying in New York on 5th November before the BBC could record the play.[12] Richard Burton starred in the first broadcast in 1954; he was joined by Elizabeth Taylor in a subsequent film.

Marriage and children

In the spring of 1936, Dylan Thomas met Caitlin MacNamara, a dancer. They met in the Wheatsheaf public house, in the Fitzrovia area of London's West End. They were introduced by Augustus John, who was MacNamara's lover at the time (there were rumours that she continued her relationship with John after she married Thomas). A drunken Thomas proposed marriage on the spot, and the two began a courtship.[13]

On 11 July 1937, Thomas married MacNamara at Penzance registry office in Cornwall. In 1938 the couple rented a cottage in the place Thomas was to help make famous, the village of Laugharne in Carmarthenshire, West Wales. Their first child was born on 30 January 1939, a boy whom they named Llewelyn Edouard (died in 2000). He was followed on 3 March 1943 by a daughter, Aeronwy Thomas-Ellis (died in 2009). A second son, Colm Garan Hart, was born on 24 July 1949.


Thomas's image on the pub sign of his Laugharne 'local', Browns Hotel.

Thomas liked to boast about his addiction, saying;

An alcoholic is someone you don't like, who drinks as much as you do.[14]

Thomas "liked the taste of whisky," and he did quite his fair share of drinking, although the amount he is supposed to have drunk may have been an exaggeration. After Ruthven Todd, a Scottish poet, had introduced Thomas to the White Horse Tavern, it quickly became a firm favourite of the Welshman. During an incident on 3 November 1953, Thomas returned to the Chelsea Hotel in New York, from the White Horse Tavern and exclaimed, "I've had eighteen straight whiskies, I think that is a record." However, the barman and the owner of the pub who served Thomas at the time, later told Ruthven Todd, that Thomas couldn't have imbibed more than half that amount, after Todd decided to find out. Before Thomas left for New York in 1953, he stayed at The Bush Hotel in Swansea, which was later known as The Bush Inn.


Dylan Thomas died in New York on 9 November 1953. The first rumours were of a brain haemorrhage, followed by reports that he had been mugged. Soon came the stories about alcohol, that he drank himself to death. Later, there were speculations about drugs and diabetes.

He was already ill when he arrived in New York on 20 October to take part in Under Milk Wood at the city's prestigious Poetry Center. He also took part in a recorded symposium on 28 October at Cinema 16: "Poetry And The Film" which included panellists Amos Vogel, Maya Deren, Parker Tyler, and Willard Maas.

Thomas had a history of blackouts and chest problems, and was using an inhaler to help his breathing. The director of the Poetry Center was John Brinnin. He was also Thomas's tour agent, taking a hefty twenty-five percent fee. Despite his duty of care, Brinnin remained at home in Boston and handed responsibility to his assistant, Liz Reitell.[15] She met Thomas at Idlewild Airport who told her that he had had a terrible week, had missed her terribly and wanted to go to bed with her. Despite Liz's previous misgivings about their relationship they spent the rest of the day and night together at the Chelsea.

The next day she invited him to her apartment but he declined saying that he was not feeling well and retired to his bed for the rest of the afternoon.

After spending the night with him at the hotel Liz went back to her own apartment for a change of clothes. At breakfast Herb Hannum noticed how sick Dylan was looking and suggested a visit to a Dr. Feltenstein before the performance of Under Milk Wood that evening.

Liz would later describe him as a wild doctor who believed injections could cure anything. He went quickly to work with his needle, and Thomas made it through the two performances of Under Milk Wood, but collapsed straight afterwards.

October 27 was his thirty-ninth birthday. In the evening, he went to a party in his honour but was so unwell that he returned to his hotel. A turning point came on 2 November, when air pollution rose to levels that were a threat to those with chest problems. By the end of the month, over two hundred New Yorkers had died from the smog.[16]

Thomas had an appointment to visit a clam-house in New Jersey on 4 November, but when telephoned at the Chelsea that morning he said that he was feeling awful and asked to take a "rain-check". He did however accompany Liz to the White Horse for a few beers. Feeling sick he again returned to the hotel.

Feltenstein came to see him three times that day, on the third call prescribing morphine. This seriously affected Dylan's breathing. At midnight on 5 November, his breathing became more difficult and his face turned blue. Liz Reitell unsuccessfully tried to get hold of Feltenstein.

By 01:58 Thomas had been admitted to the emergency ward at nearby St Vincent's, by which time he was profoundly comatose. The doctors on duty found bronchitis in all parts of his bronchial tree, both left and right sides. An X-ray showed pneumonia, and a raised white cell count confirmed the presence of an infection. The hospital let the pneumonia run its course and Thomas died on 9 November.

At the post-mortem, the pathologist found that the immediate cause of death was swelling of the brain, caused by the pneumonia reducing the supply of oxygen. Despite his heavy drinking his liver showed little sign of cirrhosis.

According to Lycett the main cause of Dylan's demise was the alcoholic co-dependent relationship with his wife Caitlin, now doomed by her resentment at his betrayals in America.[17]

Following his death, his body was brought back to Wales for his burial in the village churchyard at Laugharne on 25 November. One of the last people to stay at his graveside after the funeral was his mother, Florence. His wife, Caitlin, died in 1994 and was buried alongside him.

The rumor that Dylan's death was related to alcoholism is denied in the book Fatal Neglect: Who Killed Dylan Thomas?, by David N. Thomas, in which he suggests Dylan died from medical malpractice when Dr. Feltenstein gave him morphine for delirium tremens — in actuality, he had pneumonia. David Thomas also suggests that Feltenstein covered his tracks by pressuring other doctors to agree that it was an alcohol-related death. David Thomas also points to John Brinnin's culpability, and describes the way in which Brinnin neglected his duty of care.[18]


Thomas's verbal style played against strict verse forms, such as the villanelle Do not go gentle into that good night. His images were carefully ordered in a patterned sequence, and his major theme was the unity of all life, the continuing process of life and death and new life that linked the generations. Thomas saw biology as a magical transformation producing unity out of diversity, and in his poetry he sought a poetic ritual to celebrate this unity. He saw men and women locked in cycles of growth, love, procreation, new growth, death, and new life again. Therefore, each image engenders its opposite. Thomas derived his closely woven, sometimes self-contradictory images from the Bible, Welsh folklore and preaching, and Freud.[19]

In reply to a letter in which the writer expressed their love for his poetry but was concerned that they may have misunderstood what the poet meant, Thomas replied that a poem was like a city having many entrances: poetry was the apex of culture, the spire of civilisations, the scalpel of emotion and the anvil of thought, whispering and bellowing the unsayable with mere words[20]


Thomas's poetry is famous for its musicality, most notable in poems such as Fern Hill, In the White Giant's Thigh, In Country Sleep and Ballad of the Long-legged Bait. Do not go gentle into that good night, possibly his most popular poem, is unrepresentative of his usual poetic style. Following are a few examples.

From In my Craft or Sullen Art:[21]

Not for the proud man apart
From the raging moon I write
On these spindrift pages
Nor for the towering dead
With their nightingales and psalms
But for the lovers, their arms
Round the griefs of the ages,
Who pay no praise or wages
Nor heed my craft or art.

From In the White Giant's Thigh:[22]

Who once were a bloom of wayside brides in the hawed house
and heard the lewd, wooed field flow to the coming frost,
the scurrying, furred small friars squeal in the dowse
of day, in the thistle aisles, till the white owl crossed. . .

Thomas's poem And death shall have no dominion is noted for its metaphysical sentiment and assertion of the eternal continuity of life in nature.

And death shall have no dominion.
Dead men naked they shall be one
With the man in the wind and the west moon;
When their bones are picked clean and the clean bones gone,
They shall have stars at elbow and foot;
Though they go mad they shall be sane,
Though they sink through the sea they shall rise again
Though lovers be lost love shall not;
And death shall have no dominion.

Thomas once confided that the poems which had most influenced him were Mother Goose rhymes which his parents taught him when he was a child. He did not understand all of their contents, but he loved their sounds, and the acoustic qualities of the English language became his focus in his work later. He claimed that the meanings of a poem were of "very secondary nature" to him.[citation needed]

Thomas memorials

Statue of Dylan Thomas in Swansea's maritime quarter, unveiled by Lady Mary Wilson.

A statue of Thomas is in the city's maritime quarter. The Dylan Thomas (Little) Theatre and the Dylan Thomas Centre, formerly the town's Guildhall, are also found in Swansea. The latter is now a literature centre, where exhibitions and lectures are held, and is the setting for an annual 'Dylan Thomas Festival'. Another monument to Thomas stands in Cwmdonkin Park, one of his favourite childhood haunts, close to his birthplace at 5 Cwmdonkin Drive. The memorial is a small rock in a closed-off garden, set within the park. The rock is inscribed with the closing lines from Fern Hill

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's £5 writing shed overlooking the Afon Taf, near the Boat House, Laugharne. It cost £75 to erect on its cliff-ledge platform in the 1920s, when it was used to garage a Wolseley car.

Thomas's home in Laugharne, the Boat House, has been made a memorial.

Several of the pubs in Swansea also have associations with the poet. One of Swansea's oldest pubs, the No Sign Bar, was a regular haunt of Thomas's. It is mentioned in his story, The Followers but has subsequently been renamed the 'Wine Vaults'. And since, has been re-named The No-Sign Wine Bar.

Thomas's obituary was written by his long-term friend Vernon Watkins. A class 153 diesel multiple unit was named Dylan Thomas 1914 – 1953. In 2004 a new literary prize, the Dylan Thomas Prize,[23] was created in honour of the poet. It is awarded to the best published writer in English under the age of 30. Following this, in 2005, the Dylan Thomas Screenplay Award[24] was established. The prize is administered by the Dylan Thomas Centre, and is awarded at the annual Swansea Bay Film Festival.

In 1982, a plaque was unveiled in honour of Dylan Thomas, in Poets' Corner, Westminster Abbey.


  • 18 Poems (1934)[OOP]
  • The Map of Love (1939) [OOP]
  • Twenty-Five Poems (1936) [OOP]
  • New Poems (1943) [OOP]
  • Deaths and Entrances (1946) [OOP]
  • Twenty-Six Poems (1950) [OOP]
  • In Country Sleep (1952) [OOP]
  • Collected Poems, 1934–1952 (1952)
  • Collected Letters
  • Collected Stories
  • Portrait of the Artist as a Young Dog (1940 Dent)
  • Quite Early One Morning (posthumous)
  • Adventures In The Skin Trade And Other Stories (1955, posthumous)
  • Selected Writings of Dylan Thomas (1946) [OOP]
  • A Prospect of the Sea (1955) [OOP]
  • A Child's Christmas in Wales (1955)
  • Letters to Vernon Watkins (1957)
  • Rebecca's Daughters (1965)
  • After the Fair
  • The Tree
  • The Dress
  • The Visitor
  • The Vest
  • The Beach of Falesa (1964) [OOP]
  • Dylan Thomas — a Collection of Critical Essays: Charles B. Cox (ed.) (1966) [OOP]
  • Selected Works (The Map of Love, Selected Poems and Under Milk Wood) Guild Publishing, London 1982
  • The Collected Stories of Dylan Thomas (1984)
  • The Poems of Dylan Thomas (1979)
  • On the Air With Dylan Thomas: The Broadcasts
  • Eight Stories (1993)
  • Dylan Thomas: The Complete Screenplays (1995)
  • Fern Hill: An Illustrated edition of the Dylan Thomas poem. [1998]
  • Collected Poems 1934 – 1953 (London: Phoenix, 2003)
  • Selected Poems (London: Phoenix, 2001)


  • Dylan Thomas: Volume I — A Child's Christmas in Wales and Five Poems (Caedmon TC 1002 – 1952)
  • Under Milk Wood (Caedmon TC 2005 – 1953)
  • Dylan Thomas: Volume II — Selections from the Writings of Dylan Thomas (Caedmon TC 1018 – 1954)
  • Dylan Thomas: Volume III — Selections from the Writings of Dylan Thomas (Caedmon TC 1043)
  • Dylan Thomas: Volume IV — Selections from the Writings of Dylan Thomas (Caedmon TC 1061)
  • Dylan Thomas: Quite early one morning and other memories (Caedmon TC 1132 – 1960)
  • Dylan Thomas: Under Milk Wood and other plays (Naxos Audiobooks NA288712 – 2008) (originally BBC – 1954)


  • "The Edge of Love", 2008, directed by John Mybury, written by Sharman Macdonald
  • Dylan Thomas: A War Films Anthology (DDHE/IWM D23702 – 2006 (DVD Region 0))
  • Under Milk Wood, 1972, starring Richard Burton, Elizabeth Taylor, and Peter O'Toole
  • A Child's Christmas in Wales, a 1987 film based on Dylan Thomas's work of the same name. Directed by Don McBrearty.
  • Rebecca's Daughters starring Peter O'Toole and Joely Richardson

Other media representations

  • 1964: Dylan, a Broadway play by Sidney Michaels starring Alec Guinness as Dylan.
  • 1978: Dylan, movie about Dylan Thomas's final visit to America, concluding with his death in New York on 9 November, 1953. Directed by Richard Lewis.
  • 1990–91: Dylan Thomas: Return Journey, a one-man stage show featuring Bob Kingdom as Thomas and directed by Anthony Hopkins.[25]
  • 2008: The Edge of Love, movie about WWII events starring Matthew Rhys as the poet.
  • 2008: Marillion's 2008 Christmas CD (Pudding On The Ritz) contains a reading of A Child's Christmas In Wales put to music written by the band.[26]

Further reading

  • Brinnin, J M Dylan Thomas in America: an intimate journal, 1957
  • Thomas, Caitlin Leftover Life to Kill, 1957
  • Thomas, David N. Fatal Neglect: Who Killed Dylan Thomas? David N. Thomas, Seren 2008[27]
  • Thomas, David N. Dylan Remembered – Volume 2: 1935 – 1953, Seren 2004[28]
  • Thomas, David N. Dylan Remembered — Volume 1: 1913 – 1934, Seren 2003[29]
  • Thomas, David N. The Dylan Thomas Murders, Seren 2002[30]
  • Thomas, David N. Dylan Thomas: A Farm, Two Mansions and a Bungalow, Seren 2000[31]
  • Lycett, Andrew. Dylan Thomas — A new life, 2003


  1. ^ a b c d e "Dylan Thomas", Encyclopædia Britannica . Retrieved 11 January 2008.
  2. ^ "Biography – Dylan Thomas", BBC Wales, 11 January 2008
  3. ^ "''In my craft or sullen art'' retrieved October 29, 2008". Naic.edu. http://www.naic.edu/~gibson/poems/dthomas1.html. Retrieved 2009-10-17. 
  4. ^ George Tremlett, Dylan Thomas: In the Mercy of His Means (London: Constable, 1991), ISBN 0-09-472180-7
  5. ^ Lycett, Andrew (2008-06-21). "The reluctant propagandist". The Guardian. http://arts.guardian.co.uk/theatre/drama/story/0,,2286844,00.html. Retrieved 2008-06-24. 
  6. ^ "It is difficult to convey in a few words the quality of Mr Thomas's poetry"—Vita Sackville-West, The Observer.
  7. ^ "Dylan Thomas is not only the best living Welsh poet, but is a great poet."—John Betjeman, The Daily Herald.
  8. ^ "This book alone, in my opinion, ranks him as a major poet"—W. J. Turner, The Spectator.
  9. ^ Poem of the Week from 10/29/97
  10. ^ Nick Serpell, Veterans pass on the baton, BBC Obituaries, 1 December 2008
  11. ^ See pp285-313 of D N Thomas (2004) Dylan Remembered 1935-53, vol 2, Seren, as well as published papers collected at http://undermilkwood.webs.com
  12. ^ Nicola Soames, CD notes from Dylan Thomas: Under Milk Wood, Naxos Audiobooks.
  13. ^ "Race to put the passion of Dylan's Caitlin on big screen | UK News | The Observer". Observer.guardian.co.uk. 2006-11-26. http://observer.guardian.co.uk/uk_news/story/0,,1957289,00.html. Retrieved 2009-10-17. 
  14. ^ "Dylan Thomas Quotes". Famouspoetsandpoems.com. 2007-05-17. http://famouspoetsandpoems.com/poets/dylan_thomas/quotes. Retrieved 2009-10-17. 
  15. ^ Fatal Neglect: Who Killed Dylan Thomas? by D N Thomas, Seren 2008
  16. ^ Fatal Neglect: Who Killed Dylan Thomas? by D N Thomas, Seren 2008
  17. ^ Lycett 2003
  18. ^ Fatal Neglect: Who Killed Dylan Thomas?, by D N Thomas Seren 2008
  19. ^ M. H. Abrams and Stephen Greenblatt, eds., The Norton Anthology of English Literature (New York: W.W. Norton & Company, Inc.), 2705–2706.
  20. ^ "Poetry is the cornerstone of civilisation", A. A Gill, Sunday Times, 8 March 2008 [1]
  21. ^ In My Craft Or Sullen Art, by Dylan Thomas on 'Famous Poets and Poems' website
  22. ^ In the White Giant's Thigh
  23. ^ "Dylan Thomas Prize". Dylan Thomas Prize. http://www.thedylanthomasprize.com/. Retrieved 2009-10-17. 
  24. ^ "2010". Sbff09.com. http://www.sbff09.com. Retrieved 2009-10-17. 
  25. ^ Dylan Thomas: Return Journey Details on Theatres International website
  26. ^ "MUSIC — Discography — Christmas 2008 | The Official Marillion Website". marillion.com. http://www.marillion.com/music/xmas/2008.htm. Retrieved 2009-10-17. 
  27. ^ http://www.seren-books.com/product-search/p/2116/
  28. ^ http://www.seren-books.com/product-search/p/1984/
  29. ^ http://www.seren-books.com/product-search/p/1979/
  30. ^ http://www.seren-books.com/product-search/p/1873/
  31. ^ http://www.seren-books.com/product-search/p/1987/

External links


Up to date as of January 14, 2010

From Wikiquote

File:Dylan Thomas.jpg
Though lovers be lost love shall not;
And death shall have no dominion.

Dylan Marlais Thomas (27 October 19149 November 1953) was a Welsh poet and writer.


  • The force that through the green fuse drives the flower
    Drives my green age; that blasts the roots of trees
    Is my destroyer.
    And I am dumb to tell the crooked rose
    My youth is bent by the same wintry fever.
  • The hand that signed the paper felled a city;
    Five sovereign fingers taxed the breath,
    Doubled the globe of dead and halved a country;
    These five kings did a king to death.
  • When all my five and country senses see,
    The fingers will forget green thumbs and mark
    How, through the halfmoon's vegetable eye,
    Husk of young stars and handfull zodiac,
    Love in the frost is pared and wintered by.
  • They shall have stars at elbow and foot;
    Though they go mad they shall be sane,
    Though they sink through the sea they shall rise again;
    Though lovers be lost love shall not;
    And death shall have no dominion.
  • And I saw in the turning so clearly a child's
    Forgotten mornings when he walked with his mother
    Through the parables
    Of sunlight
    And the legends of the green chapels.
  • One Christmas was so much like another, in those years around the sea-town corner now, out of all sound except the distant speaking of the voices I sometimes hear a moment before sleep, that I can never remember whether it snowed for six days and six nights when I was twelve or whether it snowed for twelve days and twelve nights when I was six.
  • It is spring, moonless night in the small town, starless and bible-black, the cobblestreets silent and the hunched, courters'-and-rabbits' wood limping invisible down to the sloeblack, slow, black, crowblack, fishingboat-bobbing sea. The houses are blind as moles (though moles see fine tonight in the snouting, velvet dingles) or blind as Captain Cat there in the muffled middle by the pump and the town clock, the shops in mourning, the Welfare Hall in widows' weeds. And all the people of the lulled and dumbfound town are sleeping now.
  • I fell in love — that is the only expression I can think of — at once, and am still at the mercy of words, though sometimes now, knowing a little of their behavior very well, I think I can influence them slightly and have even learned to beat them now and then, which they appear to enjoy.
    • Poetic Manifesto, published in the Texas Quarterly (Winter 1961)
  • You can tear a poem apart to see what makes it technically tick... You're back with the mystery of having been moved by words. The best craftsmanship always leaves holes and gaps in the works of the poem so that something that is not in the poem can creep, crawl, flash, or thunder in. The joy and function of poetry is, and was, the celebration of man, which is also the celebration of God.
    • Poetic Manifesto
Under the new made clouds and happy as the heart was long,
In the sun born over and over,
I ran my heedless ways.

Fern Hill (1946)

  • 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.
    • St. 1
  • In the sun that is young once only,
    Time let me play and be
    Golden in the mercy of his means.
    • St. 2
  • And the sabbath rang slowly
    In the pebbles of the holy streams.
    • St. 2
  • 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.
    • St. 5
  • Time held me green and dying
    Though I sang in my chains like the sea.
    • St. 6

External links

Wikipedia has an article about:

Simple English

A statue of Dylan Thomas

Dylan Marlais Thomas (October 27, 1914 - November 9, 1953[1]) was a Welsh poet. He was born in the town of Swansea. He published his first book of poetry in 1932. In addition to writing poetry, he was an excellent speaker. He toured the United Kingdom and the United States reciting his poems. He wrote works for radio including "A Child's Christmas in Wales" and "Under Milk Wood"

File:Maritime Quarter, Swansea - geograph.org.uk -
Statue of Dylan Thomas in Swansea

Thomas is one of the famous people who appears on the cover of The Beatles, Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band album.[needs proof]


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