Friday, June 25, 2010

Poetry Friday

Came to this favourite Dylan Thomas poem via thoughts of whether or not it's OK to let small boys think that using 'the Force' is fine if you're a Jedi. Was it fine to bomb Dresden because the Allies were the' goodies' ? Where is the movie that presents a pacifist hero ? Is pacifism always flawed ? Can 'Force' be used for the good ? Does the end justify the means ? Could the Empire have been resisted through peaceful means ? In the end, a light-saber is just another weapon... too much illness-induced bed rest, too much thinking...

But 'Force' led to 'the force that through the green fuse drives the flower' and that to this.

Lie still, sleep becalmed by Dylan Thomas

Lie still, sleep becalmed, sufferer with the wound
In the throat, burning and turning. All night afloat
On the silent sea we have heard the sound
That came from the wound wrapped in the salt sheet.

Under the mile off moon we trembled listening
To the sea sound flowing like blood from the loud wound
And when the salt sheet broke in a storm of singing
The voices of all the drowned swam on the wind.

Open a pathway through the slow sad sail.
Throw wide to the wind the gates of the wandering boat
For my voyage to begin to the end of my wound.
We heard the sea sound sing, we saw the salt sheet tell.
Lie still, sleep becalmed, hide the mouth in the throat,
Or we shall obey, and ride with you through the drowned.

Oh, all that lovely alliteration, the half rhymes of 'wound' and 'sound', a poem part hallucination, part valediction, language the only force to be sure of.


  1. Melissa,
    This is beautiful. Really beautiful. Two things come to mind for me: one, my parents loved Dylan Thomas and as a child we'd hear Under Milk Wood recited over dinner and at parties…yes, my parents were hippies! And two, my parents raised me to be a pacifist, and while the peace rallies were tiring when I was 11, I am proud to pass on the ideas and ideals of pacifism to my children. We had a very interesting discussion about pacifism just the other day, discussing whether Muhammed Ali could truly be a pacifist if he also beat other men up for a living. We ended up talking about contact sports, sport in general, and people in glass houses. It got very lively!
    Thanks for this post, Melissa, and for your blog. It's just lovely. (I don't know if you remember meeting me, but I'm a friend of Jan's and I met you at the art gallery :-) )

  2. Hi Helena,
    Of course I remember you :) I have been meaning to email you and have a proper chat about writing. Your comment is good - because now I feel so much less weird for wondering about the whole Jedi thing in the first place!! The kids just rolled their eyes when I mentioned it over dinner... As my sister is fond of reminding me (quite rightly), these sort of things are the icing on the cake in terms of raising and protecting children. Still, they are interesting to me and I am glad they are interesting to you as well, thanks for reading, comments are lovely!