john davies
notes from a small curate

    Dylan Thomas

    BBC Radio Merseyside Thought for the Day 7/3/2003

    Having already cast my vote for the Greatest Merseysider, today I'm thinking about the man who I'd regard as the Greatest Ever Welshman.

    No, it's not Neville Southall, though he wouldn't be far off - it's the poet, writer and maverick performer Dylan Thomas.

    There's a show about Thomas at the Playhouse this evening - 'Return Journey', directed by Anthony Hopkins, which describes some of Thomas's last days, performing before sell out audiences at colleges and universities around the United States.

    Dylan Thomas was one of the 20th century's greatest poets. Swansea-born, he died in New York in 1953 aged just 39. His lifestyle became almost as legendary as his beautiful lush poetry. Legend has it that it was his seventeenth whisky at the Black Horse pub which finished him off.

    Thomas wasn't an out-and-out religious poet. But his understanding of nature and human mortality goes very deep.

    In these dark days of looming war, where it seems the forces of death and destruction are in control, I find comfort in his poem entitled And death shall have no dominion. It's a good poem for Lent when we're reminded that we are just dust and ashes, but that at the end, if you're minded to believe it, just like the sunrise in the spring, there is more:
      Though they sink through the sea they shall rise again;
      Though lovers be lost love shall not;
      And death shall have no dominion