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Dylan Thomas on his birthday

Dylan Thomas's writing reverberates with the voices of small-town Wales. They were heard beyond his native Swansea when he read on the BBC and toured the US. Here are the first four verses of his ``Poem in October.'' It was my thirtieth year to heaven Woke to my hearing from harbour and neighbor wood And the mussel pooled and the heron Priested shore The morning beckon With water praying and call of seagull and rook Myself to set foot That second In the still sleeping town and set forth My birthday began with the waterBirds and the birds of the winged trees flying my name Above the farms and the white horses And I rose In rainy autumn And walked abroad in a shower of all my days. High tide and the heron dived when I took the road Over the border And the gates Of the town closed as the town awoke. A springful of larks in a rolling Cloud and the roadside bushes brimming with whistling Blackbirds and the sun of October Summery On the hill's shoulder, Here were fond climates and sweet singers suddenly Come in the morning where I wandered and listened To the rain wringing Wind blow cold In the wood faraway under me. Pale rain over the dwindling harbour And over the sea wet church the size of a snail With its horns through mist and the castle Brown as owls But all the gardens Of spring and summer were blooming in the tall tales Beyond the border and under the lark full cloud. There could I marvel My birthday Away but the weather turned around. Dylan Thomas. ``Poems of Dylan Thomas.'' Copyright 1945 by the Trustees for the Copyrights of Dylan Thomas. First printed in Poetry magazine. Reprinted by permission of New Directions Publishing Corp.

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