|Dylan Thomas in a London Park|
Today marks the birthday of a writer immersed in nature and more specifically the themes and images of coastal living. His name is Dylan Thomas, the Welsh writer whose poetry and unforgettable voice brought him great fame in the United States in the decade prior to his early death in New York in 1953.
Thomas and his native land have special meaning to me. My great grandparents from my mother's side immigrated from Cardiff, Wales, to the United States in the 1870's. Though I never knew my grandmother - she died before my second year - my father often recalled how she took pride in her Celtic roots and the Welsh love for song and singing.
It is interesting that he should remember the talk of song and singing. Many critics and authorities write that Thomas's recitations are spoken words that approach song. Readers can reach their own conclusion by listening to the poet reading Poem in October, his recollections of his thirtieth birthday. Audio quality isn't the best. I suggest earphones and closed eyes for this sound journey if you choose not to read along.
What an unforgettable voice. I first heard Thomas reading his work during an elementary school English class. I doubt few students in any grade have that opportunity today. How unfortunate that education has come a long way since then but so much beauty in language has been lost along the way.
Photo: Getty Images