Perched on a hill
inhaling the sea,
four years old
with a demon in me.
Druids and graves
enchanted by mist,
running through forests
Welsh air had kissed.
Fag ends and skag rocks,
sticky grey skies,
pounding the mountains,
to the Kestrel’s cries.
Dylan Thomas began his brilliant writing career at the age of 16. To anyone who has written at this age, your influencers are strong figures, springing from your pen and feeding the words on the page. James Joyce and Gerard Manley- Hopkins were two prominent writers who influenced Thomas- in turn, he influenced one of the best poets of our time, Bob Dylan.
A girl stood before him in midstream, alone and still, gazing out to sea. She seemed like one whom magic had changed into the likeness of a strange and beautiful seabird. Her long slender bare legs were delicate as a crane’s and pure save where an emerald trail of seaweed had fashioned itself as a sign upon the flesh. Her thighs, fuller and soft-hued as ivory, were bared almost to the hips, where the white fringes of her drawers were like feathering of soft white down. Her slate-blue skirts were kilted boldly about her waist and dovetailed behind her. Her bosom was as a bird’s, soft and slight, slight and soft as the breast of some dark-plumaged dove. But her long fair hair was girlish: and girlish, and touched with the wonder of mortal beauty, her face.
She was alone and still, gazing out to sea; and when she felt his presence and the worship of his eyes her eyes turned to him in quiet sufferance of his gaze, without shame or wantonness. Long, long she suffered his gaze and then quietly withdrew her eyes from his and bent them towards the stream, gently stirring the water with her foot hither and thither. The first faint noise of gently moving water broke the silence, low and faint and whispering, faint as the bells of sleep; hither and thither, hither and thither; and a faint flame trembled on her cheek.
– James Joyce- Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man, 1916
A stranger has come
To share my room in the house not right in the head,
A girl mad as birds
Bolting the night of the door with her arm her plume.
Strait in the mazed bed
She deludes the heaven-proof house with entering clouds
Yet she deludes with walking the nightmarish room,
At large as the dead,
Or rides the imagined oceans of the male wards.
She has come possessed
Who admits the delusive light through the bouncing wall,
Possessed by the skies
She sleeps in the narrow trough yet she walks the dust
Yet raves at her will
On the madhouse boards worn thin by my walking tears.
And taken by light in her arms at long and dear last
I may without fail
Suffer the first vision that set fire to the stars.