Poem in October
This poem by Dylan Thomas is one of my favorites among the many wonderful poems by this amazing poet. While it is already December it is never too late or early to share this poem.
I was reminded of it earlier today while attending a lecture entitled "Proust and Weather" by Joel Rich, an Instructor in The Basic Program of Liberal Education at The University of Chicago. While Joel shared the beauty and commented on the turns of meaning in Proust's prose about the weather I was reminded of this poem which also turns on the weather. Proust's narrator for In Search of Lost Time said, "A change in the weather is sufficient to recreate the world and ourselves anew." I hope you will find similar thoughts expressed by Dylan Thomas in his Poem in October.
POEM IN OCTOBER
It was my thirtieth year to heaven Woke to my hearing from harbour and neighbour wood And the mussel pooled and the heron Priested shore The morning beckon With water praying and call of seagull and rook And the knock of sailing boats on the webbed wall Myself to set foot That second In the still sleeping town and set forth. My birthday began with the water- Birds and the birds of the winged trees flying my name Above the farms and the white horses And I rose In a rainy autumn And walked abroad in shower of all my days High tide and the heron dived when I took the road Over the border And the gates Of the town closed as the town awoke. A springful of larks in a rolling Cloud and the roadside bushes brimming with whistling Blackbirds and the sun of October Summery On the hill's shoulder, Here were fond climates and sweet singers suddenly Come in the morning where I wandered and listened To the rain wringing Wind blow cold In the wood faraway under me. Pale rain over the dwindling harbour And over the sea wet church the size of a snail With its horns through mist and the castle Brown as owls But all the gardens Of spring and summer were blooming in the tall tales Beyond the border and under the lark full cloud. There could I marvel My birthday Away but the weather turned around. It turned away from the blithe country And down the other air and the blue altered sky Streamed again a wonder of summer With apples Pears and red currants 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 And the twice told fields of infancy That his tears burned my cheeks and his heart moved in mine. These were the woods the river and the sea Where a boy In the listening Summertime of the dead whispered the truth of his joy To the trees and the stones and the fish in the tide. And the mystery Sang alive Still in the water and singing birds. And there could I marvel my birthday Away but the weather turned around. And the true Joy of the long dead child sang burning In the sun. It was my thirtieth Year to heaven stood there then in the summer noon Though the town below lay leaved with October blood. O may my heart's truth Still be sung On this high hill in a year's turning. Selected Poems 1934-1952 by Dylan Thomas. New Directions, New York. 1953.