Thursday, July 07, 2011

Thursday Poem - Fern Hill

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 honored 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 honored 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
I read this poem every year around this time, and whenever I do, I am carried 
back to golden childhood summers spent on my grandmother's farm.


Endment said...

Thanks for sharing this - the words really talk to me today.

Nan said...

So, so beautiful. What words he uses. 'in the sun that is young once only' just makes me cry. The whole thing really makes me cry, for the loss of his idyllic childhood in nature, the loss of all childhoods, and the fact that I fear very, very few children have this kind of life anymore - where the fields and the hay and the flowers are their companions, rather than their video games, cell phones, or facebooks. Is there a child who is 'green and carefree' now? Maybe when very young. Before school age perhaps. I don't know a lot about DT, but I suspect it wasn't all fun for him. And that may be his genius, with this and with A Child's Christmas in Wales - that he focuses on the beauty of it all. Thank you for posting this. I haven't read it in far too long.

Guy said...

Hi Cate

One of my favourite poems and the photo really compliments it. Thanks for this lovely post.


the wild magnolia said...

How kind it is, to hear another's voice, once we were all "young and easy under the apple boughs." His recollections are thrilling again and again.

Thank you for bringing this gift today.


Maggie Emm said...

Thanks, Cate. I'd forgotten how beautifully Dylan writes - must read more! It is transporting.
I have a poem I read every September - 'Autumn Journal' by Louis MacNeice - do you know it?
Enjoy your summer!
Maggie x