Thursday, July 04, 2013
Just for the Heck of It
In my humble opinion, Dylan Thomas' "Fern Hill" may be the greatest poem in the English language. Here it is:
Now as I was young and easy under the apple boughsAbout the lilting house and happy as the grass was green,The night above the dingle starry,Time let me hail and climbGolden in the heydays of his eyes,And honoured among wagons I was prince of the apple townsAnd once below a time I lordly had the trees and leavesTrail with daisies and barleyDown the rivers of the windfall light.And as I was green and carefree, famous among the barnsAbout the happy yard and singing as the farm was home,In the sun that is young once only,Time let me play and beGolden in the mercy of his means,And green and golden I was huntsman and herdsman, the calvesSang to my horn, the foxes on the hills barked clear and cold,And the sabbath rang slowlyIn the pebbles of the holy streams.All the sun long it was running, it was lovely, the hayFields high as the house, the tunes from the chimneys, it was airAnd playing, lovely and wateryAnd fire green as grass.And nightly under the simple starsAs I rode to sleep the owls were bearing the farm away,All the moon long I heard, blessed among stables, the nightjarsFlying with the ricks, and the horsesFlashing into the dark.And then to awake, and the farm, like a wanderer whiteWith the dew, come back, the cock on his shoulder: it was allShining, it was Adam and maiden,The sky gathered againAnd the sun grew round that very day.So it must have been after the birth of the simple lightIn the first, spinning place, the spellbound horses walking warmOut of the whinnying green stableOn to the fields of praise.And honoured among foxes and pheasants by the gay houseUnder 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 hayAnd nothing I cared, at my sky blue trades, that time allowsIn all his tuneful turning so few and such morning songsBefore the children green and goldenFollow him out of grace.Nothing I cared, in the lamb white days, that time would take meUp to the swallow thronged loft by the shadow of my hand,In the moon that is always rising,Nor that riding to sleepI should hear him fly with the high fieldsAnd 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 dyingThough I sang in my chains like the sea.
Though I sang in my chains ...
like the sea.
I still remember listening to a recording of Richard Burton reading "Under Milk Wood" in an English class at school. Superb writing delivered by a great actor with a marvelous voice. It wassublime.
One; two; three; four; five; six; seven; eight; nine; ten; eleven; twelve.
version of the play (which does not completely track with the BBC version).