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Dylan Thomas' “Especially When The October Wind”

A poem for October

  • Especially when the October wind
  • With frosty fingers punishes my hair,
  • Caught by the crabbing sun I walk on fire
  • And cast a shadow crab upon the land,
  • By the sea’s side, hearing the noise of birds,
  • Hearing the raven cough in winter sticks,
  • My busy heart who shudders as she talks
  • Sheds the syllabic blood and drains her words.
  • Shut, too, in a tower of words, I mark
  • On the horizon walking like the trees
  • The wordy shapes of women, and the rows
  • Of the star-gestured children in the park.
  • Some let me make you of the vowelled beeches,
  • Some of the oaken voices, from the roots
  • Of many a thorny shire tell you notes,
  • Some let me make you of the water’s speeches.
  • Behind a pot of ferns the wagging clock
  • Tells me the hour’s word, the neural meaning
  • Flies on the shafted disk, declaims the morning
  • And tells the windy weather in the cock.
  • Some let me make you of the meadow’s signs;
  • The signal grass that tells me all I know
  • Breaks with the wormy winter through the eye.
  • Some let me tell you of the raven’s sins.
  • Especially when the October wind
  • (Some let me make you of autumnal spells,
  • The spider-tongued, and the loud hill of Wales)
  • With fists of turnips punishes the land,
  • Some let me make you of the heartless words.
  • The heart is drained that, spelling in the scurry
  • Of chemic blood, warned of the coming fury.
  • By the sea’s side hear the dark-vowelled birds. 
Dylan Thomas

Dylan Thomas (1914-1953) is one of the best known poets of the 20th century. Born in Wales, he appropriated the Welsh poetic style with a unique idiom to produce some of the greatest lyrics of the English language, including “Do not go gentle into that good night” and “And death shall have no dominion.” He also wrote Under Milk Wood, a play for voices about life in a small Welsh village, and the perennial Yuletime favorite A Child’s Christmas in Wales.

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  • Especially when the October wind
  • With frosty fingers punishes my hair,
  • Caught by the crabbing sun I walk on fire
  • And cast a shadow crab upon the land,
  • By the sea’s side, hearing the noise of birds,
  • Hearing the raven cough in winter sticks,
  • My busy heart who shudders as she talks
  • Sheds the syllabic blood and drains her words.
  • Shut, too, in a tower of words, I mark
  • On the horizon walking like the trees
  • The wordy shapes of women, and the rows
  • Of the star-gestured children in the park.
  • Some let me make you of the vowelled beeches,
  • Some of the oaken voices, from the roots
  • Of many a thorny shire tell you notes,
  • Some let me make you of the water’s speeches.
  • Behind a pot of ferns the wagging clock
  • Tells me the hour’s word, the neural meaning
  • Flies on the shafted disk, declaims the morning
  • And tells the windy weather in the cock.
  • Some let me make you of the meadow’s signs;
  • The signal grass that tells me all I know
  • Breaks with the wormy winter through the eye.
  • Some let me tell you of the raven’s sins.
  • Especially when the October wind
  • (Some let me make you of autumnal spells,
  • The spider-tongued, and the loud hill of Wales)
  • With fists of turnips punishes the land,
  • Some let me make you of the heartless words.
  • The heart is drained that, spelling in the scurry
  • Of chemic blood, warned of the coming fury.
  • By the sea’s side hear the dark-vowelled birds. 
Dylan Thomas

Dylan Thomas (1914-1953) is one of the best known poets of the 20th century. Born in Wales, he appropriated the Welsh poetic style with a unique idiom to produce some of the greatest lyrics of the English language, including “Do not go gentle into that good night” and “And death shall have no dominion.” He also wrote Under Milk Wood, a play for voices about life in a small Welsh village, and the perennial Yuletime favorite A Child’s Christmas in Wales.

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