He stands at the steaming river’s edge
With his soft arms in the air,
And snares the sun among his tangled hair,
And springs upon the wave’s thick ledge,
And curls his arms around his hips,
Brushing the hot foam with his lips.
Further information: This poem has a suggestion of the Egyptian myth, the Osiris-Isis story.
Based upon themes from Mother Goose
The lion fruit goes from my thumb
And the branches stride from my hand,
Proud and hard. Now I may watch
The wings of the bird snap
Under the air which raises flowers
Over the walls of the brass town,
Near the house of the grass stream,
Looking down on the turrets.
Further information: This poem reminds the reader of a number of nursery rhymes including: Mary Mary, Quite Contrary and Tom, Tom, the Piper’s son, as well as the fairytale, Rupunzel.
Excerpt: Poem written on the Death of a Very Dear Illusion
Grant me a period for recuperation,
I have lost my nearest relation,
Let there be tears,
My love is crucified
And split and bled,
Bruised and ravished by commercial travellers.
Excerpt: And so the New Love Came
And so the new love came at length
Healing and giving strength,
And made the pure love go.
She echoed my laughter
And placed my love upon her,
Bearing the voluptuous burden,
With pure love coming after.
Further information: Dylan mentions the the name Lilith in this poem, who according to myth, was the wife of Adam before Eve.
Excerpt: Woman on Tapestry
Her woven hands beckoned me,
And her eyes pierced their intense love into me,
And I drew closer to her
Until I felt the rhythm of her body
Like a living cloak over me.
Further information: Dylan’s childhood friend Daniel Jones has suggested that when writing this poem, with all its strange landscapes, he may have been thinking about a panel, weaved by Daniel’s mother, called The Garden of Eden that hung in their house.
Excerpt: Claudetta, You and Me
Her voice is a clear line of light
Coming from the end of her world
Into the uneasy centre of mine,
And her hair is a forest whose trees
I have planted, in thought,
Time upon time.
Come, black-tressed Claudetta, home
To me, who, when you go,
Fall into melancholy.
You said “The shepherd by the brook,
Singing to soothe his cares,
Befriended me, and told me how
The swallow was the bird he loved.
Cool, oh no cool,
Sharp, oh no sharp,
The hillock of the thoughts you think
With that half-moulded mind I said was yours,
But cooler when I take it back,
And sharper if I break asunder
The icicle of each deliberate fancy.
When all your tunes have caused
The pianola’s roll to break,
And, no longer young but careful,
There are no words by which you might express
The thoughts you seem to let go by
You might consider me.
Oh! the children run towards the door,
Opening a thousand times before they blink,
And there are fifty Xmas trees
Showing the snow on every thirtieth branch
Outside the house, but not too far.
How shall the animal
Whose way I trace
Into the dark recesses
Under such weight as bows me down,
The bitter certainty of waste,
The knowing that I hatch a thought
To see it crushed
Beneath your foot, my bantering Philistine?
The shepherd blew upon his reed
A strange fragility of notes,
And all the birds and forests freed
The music of their golden throats.
Further information: This poem was deleted from the notebook, however originally it was notebook 1, poem ’12’ and was printed in Swansea Grammar School magazine in July 1930 where its title was ‘Orpheus’.
He said, ‘You seem lovely, Chloe,
Your pretty body and your hair
Are smoother than the rose and snowy,
Soft as a plum and light as air.
Further information: This poem was deleted and was originally, as well as a few others, poem ’12’. Thomas wrote this poem in an visitor’s book at Yr Hendre farm, St Dogmaels, North Pembrokeshire in 1930 which is now at the National Library of Wales.