'Time Held me Green'

I have a soft spot for people who overdo it--especially those who say everything, give everything, mean everything. There is a generosity of spirit in such people that captivates me. Their audacity and abandon invites dreams and hope and sincere affection.

That's why I fall in love with Dylan Thomas every time I read or hear him read his work. He was all human heart, and he gave voice to the spirit of ordinary life and love that is epic. (The podcast in the navigation toolbar offers some of his recorded poetry. The big voice is his; the smaller one is Robert Frost's.)

Dylan Thomas's poem "Fern Hill" is an ode to the unselfconscious beauty and wonder of childhood. It is a celebration of all that is magical and mysterious and generous in life. As one stanza rolls into the next, I feel the cool of a late spring evening under my feet, the damp of long grass, the cushioning glow of the yellow dandelions, the vastness of a countryside that unfolds as a dream of possibility--those "sky blue trades."

Dreams change as owls fly off with barns and the sun rises, beckoning children out of grace. It's inevitable, but who cares? The imagination prevails over mutability by making a friend of it and singing to it:

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


  1. Anonymous11:56 AM

    Incredible voice, incredible poem.


  2. Thank you for pointing me to Dylan Thomas. I just listened to his reading of Do Not Go Gentle Into That Good Night, here: http://www.poets.org/viewmedia.php/prmMID/15377.

    His reading is all you said it would be.

  3. Thanks, Greg. Thomas was a beautiful writer, and he lived a sumptuous life in his Celtic way.

    You know, one of my students fell in love with him last week. "He wasn't really a drunk, was he?" she asked. Too sweet. Sadly, he died of drunkenness. Makes me wonder what sorrow gripped his soul and how hard he fought it through his art.

  4. Anonymous6:54 PM

    What beautiful images, so poignantly recalling our own dreams. Dylan Thomas's use of words touch the soul.

  5. Thomas's use of color--rich and deep and generous--is much like your own.


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