Friday, April 20, 2007

I think I owe you another

I didn't post a poetry recommendation on April 2. That was a weekday. I was shelving. I should've at least brought something to your attention. Sorry.

Maybe I'll two next Monday.

Here's a little something else for today, though. A coworker, Karen, gave me this poem about Dylan Thomas by her mother, E. Kathleen England:

The Ballad of Dylan Thomas

In the druidical mists of South Wales
Was once spawned a genius wild
Who vowed he'd become a great writer
When he was still only a child.
It was of being Dylan Thomas that he died.

"I'd rather be a poet any day
And thrive on guile and beer," said he.
"If I act like a bard, poor and wicked,
Then that's what I surely shall be."

Though his writings made him quite famous
He was always searching for more.
Near the end he cared only for drinking;
The work he once loved, now a chore.
It was of being Dylan Thomas that he died.

One night in a room in the Chelsea Hotel
Dylan Thomas declared to a friend,
"I've just downed eighteen straight whiskies
And I fear they may well spell my end."

Caitlin, possessed of ten-thousand demons,
Smashed a cross and a statue of Mary.
Dylan swore he would die before he was forty;
Now at thirty-nine his remains she must bury,
For he had died of being Dylan Thomas.

Nowadays in the Chelsea it's rumored
A lady burns candles all of the time
To discourage the ghost in the hallway
Who whispers, "Room 205 is still mine."

And more often than not she burns incense
To fend off the mists rising round.
She says the room reeks of raw whiskey.
Though never a bottle she's found.
It was of being Dylan Thomas that he died.

(When Margaret Taylor, a friend and benefactor, learned of the death of Dylan Thomas she allegedly said: "He has died of being Dylan Thomas.")

Kathleen England is 83, and has lived with Parkinson's Disease for many years. She dreams of publishing, and is working on, a book of poetry. She has a Masters in Creative Writing from the University of Washington, studied verse with Nelson Bentley for 12 quarters since 1985, and has been published in The Written Arts, Matrix, Spindrift, Quaint Canoe (where she received third place in the "cat poem" contest), Scarabogram, Art's Focus (second honorable mention in the Illustrated Poetry contest), and the Henry Art Gallery Art Writing Competition (second prize).

It is our pleasure to share this poem with you. My thanks to Kathleen and Karen for providing it.

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