Tuesday, April 24, 2012


October is long past but perhaps as we turn to and fro with April weather it would be good to look back for a moment to when we were anticipating winter even as now we are anticipating summer.

I found two wonderful things on the internet, and tho' I wanted to be original and post my own efforts I could not pass these by.

I have been unable to reach the owners of these to clear the copyrights, but I am hoping that since this is just a blog for sharing and with no commercial worth, (ha! would that it were ) I will give credit  to the owners with praise for their good taste and their part in bringing beauty to this world and promise to remove them if they feel it violates their trust.
What more is there to say?

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 net 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 rainy autumn
And walked abroad in a 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
            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 sun light
      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 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 singingbirds.

      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.
Dylan Thomas, “Poem in October” from The Poems of Dylan Thomas. Used by permission of David Higham Associates, London as agents for the Trustees of the Copyrights of Dylan Thomas
Source: Poetry (February 1945).

have left these permission lines to give credit where credit is due though it is not true that permission was given to me, but to the owners of Poetry . QV

Commentary by Flamblogger

It is his birthday. The turning of thirty is a time for reflection.

He rises early and walks along the shore line, breathing in the long familiar sights and sounds of the harbor. A moment of nostalgia overwhelms him. The fishing nets are hung over the walls as usual, and the surge of the tide sucks at the mussels. Along the shoreline, the herons tall, thin and still, preside like priests who are hearing the prayers of the water. The call of the seagulls and rooks and the knocking of the wooden sail boats, side by side in the tide all remind him of how everything is as it has always been.

Yet he was turning thirty.

His thoughts take us through the day from the early morning when the town is sleeping, until the town begins to wake. Time is passing and he continues his walk past the borders of the town. Rain showers pass reminding him that he is "walking in the shower of all (his) days". The passing of his days stays foremost in his mind as the rainy day shifts from sun to showers, bringing shadows and sunlight in turn just as his thirty years had done.

His walk takes him from the sea shore through the lanes and woods with the weather as changeable as the views. The song birds urge him on up the hill to the patch of sunshine on its brow. In the distance he hears the rain and wind among the leaves of the trees now below him. He watches the misty rain drifting over the harbor. The town church with it spires is barely recognizable through the passing shower except to look like a looming snail.

Here beyond the edge of town he had thought to while away his birthday, dreaming of his days as a child with his mother. They were fruit-filled days of summer spent with a mother who is now no more. These thoughts of past happy times move him to tears just as he had wept at her loss then. Now those days are gone too.

His nostalgia returns. As a Welshman, he is reminded of the parables he once heard in chapel. On reflection his life seems to him to be a parable. The boy who once reveled in the woods, the river, and the sea, still remembers the 'summer of the dead'. Yet he remembers that even with this sorrow in his heart he had whispered then of the joy that he had found in all around him. So even today, that joy lifts his soul.

Now by noon-time he understands that that which surrounds him is still the same as when he was a child, but some things change as does the weather. The years will move on. The town below, wreathed in scarlet leaves readying for winter reminds him of his coming year. The seasons change, that is inevitable. The year ahead is already on its way. Everything else will still be here next year. Yet knowing how change comes, his deep desire is that he will not have changed and would still hold these truths in his heart.


This is my contribution to ABC Wednesday, the extra-Ordinary project headed by  Mrs. Nesbitt and her wonderful team as we head into the home stretch of our ninth round.  Please click HERE to see more Out Of the Ordinary posts for the letter 'O'


Wanda said...

Oh Chris, you are such a master of words. I hung on every one with your comentary on the wonderful poem.

I remember 30. It was when I had my last baby. 1970!

Meryl said...

OH how beautiful - warm - moving! What colors and emotions you paint with your words. Thank you!

Leslie: said...

Heartwarming! And I, too, hung on every one of your words of commentary. I think I'll copy this to read at leisure when I'm feeling low!

abcw team

Hildred and Charles said...

Beautiful words. October is my favourite month - it seems to be full of promise of springtime after winter.

Roger Owen Green said...

a lovely autumnal message

ROG, ABC Wednesday team

Ann said...

I love everything about fall, the color, sweaters, pumpkins, hot cocoa and the tree you have presented is gorgeous. The poem is wonderful.

photowannabe said...

Lovely October and a great commentary of the poem. Well done and I think they are perfect choices for the letter O.

chubskulit said...

Fall scenery is beautiful!

O is for....
Rose, ABC Wednesday Team

Arthur (AmeriNZ) said...

April in the Southern Hemisphere is the equivalent of October in the Northern Hemisphere, so this post was timely for me!

Anonymous said...

That photo is spectacular-- I can see why you wanted to use it.

claude said...

October is full of very beautiful colors but as soon as September is coming I think about the bad days.
I prefer P for "Printemps".
We have a very rainy April.
Your last words in french are correct, Chris !

Anonymous said...

October is my birthday month and also my wife's birthday month.

Anonymous said...

Forgot to say that I enjoyed the post and all of your efforts in getting it done and posted for us. Thank you.

PhenoMenon, ABCW Team said...

Love the commentary. I prefer pictures to words but then I am quite lazy :)

Lisa said...

Stunning photo! I love October and all it's grand colors. I also love your commentary. Very poignant and it goes well with the autumn theme.

kaybee said...

Beautiful interpretation, Chris!

Reader Wil said...

Thanks for your beautiful post! The tree is stunning, the poem great and the story moving.
Have a great day and rest of the week.

sush said...

loved it- you cast spell with magic words. and October is my month- I am born in October:-)

snafu said...

Of course it should be read with a Welsh accent. Interesting interpretation. Nice picture, whoever it belongs to. And oh to be just turning thirty, I wish.

Black Jack's Carol said...

Chris, this is an absolutely wonderful post. First, the photograph that inspired and reminded me to keep striving to do the beauty around me greater justice. Then, I read and felt Dylan's "Poem in October" and walked with him through his memories. But, best of all, was to read your interpretation. Thank you for putting such beautiful care into this post!

Gattina said...

Our April here in Belgium looks rather like October ! and I hate autumn, I am so longing for a warmer spring weather !

Martha said...

October is my favorite. I love spring, but I adore autumn. :)

Patty said...

I've always felt Fall to be a sad time of year. Things dying and changing colors. The changing colors is pretty, but soon the leaves fall off and the grass dies, and I know what is around the corner, cold winter. Although must say this past winter was a whiz compared to some we have had. But that is one beautiful colored tree.

Happy week-end.