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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 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.

First published in Deaths and Entrances (1946)

Dylan Thomas

"I was born in a large Welsh industrial town [Swansea, in 1914] at the beginning of the Great War: an ugly, lovely town (or so it was, and is, to me)" . . . This sea town was my world."

Dylan Thomas (1914-53) was a Welch poet. His public readings won him acclaim, especially in the United States. His craftmanship was eminent, in part marked by rhapsodic lyricism, with images ordered in a patterned sequence in a continuing process.

Handy tales help children today

Some readers of folktales find the tales have more depth than a little boy and girl are expected to perceive all at once. Yet a fine folktale may do good to many - in part because it allows itself to be understood on more that one level and interpreted differently by different persons. Some think there are messages in some of them, cloaked messages - but it depends on understanding and approach.


Fern Hill, Dylan Thomas, Literature  

Ackerman, John. 1994. A Dylan Thomas Companion: Life, Poetry and Prose. Reprint ed (with corrections). London: Macmillan.

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