The Coalition For Disturbing Metaphors (halfshellvenus) wrote,
The Coalition For Disturbing Metaphors

Poetry: "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.

~ Dylan Thomas

For me, Dylan Thomas' poems often seem to work at the subconscious level almost as much as the level of intellect. This one is full of gorgeous language, phrases such as Down the rivers of the windfall light and All the moon long and I ran my heedless ways. But those final two lines are the full abstraction of what this poem is all about, and they transcend mere words and meaning. They have always given me chills.

Tags: poetry month

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