Dylan Thomas was a Welsh poet and writer, famous for works such as the poem “Do not go gentle into that good night”, the play “Under Milk Wood” and a story “Portrait of the Artist as a Young Dog”. Very popular during his lifetime, he died at the age of 39, having acquired an unfortunate reputation as a “roistering, drunken and doomed poet”.
He was born in Swansea, Wales in 1914. An undistinguished school pupil, he dabbed in journalism for a short while and wrote in his spare time. It was not until 1934, with the publication of “Light breaks where no sun shines”, that he caught the attention of the literary world. He married Caitlin Macnamara in 1937 but their relationship was always marred by his alcoholism. He didn’t earn much money during his lifetime and in fact he probably found radio broadcasting more lucrative.
Thomas travelled to the United States in the 1950s, where his readings brought him considerable fame while his erratic behaviour and drinking became worse. His time here did much to cement his legend. In 1953 he fell gravely ill, went into a coma and never recovered.
Dylan Thomas will always be remembered for his literary Works, becoming something of a cult figure in his day and for several generations he was widely read and acclaimed. What greater homage than to quote one of his poems:
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 dingly 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 day.
So it must have been the birth of the simple light
In the first,spinning place, the spellbound horses walking warm
Out of the whinnying green stable
On 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 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.
Happy English learning!!