Critical Analysis of Dylan Thomas’s “Poem in October” ~ All About English Literature

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Tuesday, 11 February 2020

Critical Analysis of Dylan Thomas’s “Poem in October”

Critical Analysis of Dylan Thomas’s “Poem in October”

Dylan Thomas’s ‘Poem in October’ is derived from the volume, Death and Entrance where he presents a vision of his childhood in contradiction to the monotonous, frustrated urban life after world wars. The poem describes comparing and contrasting picture of village’s life and town life which show us the backward and forward movement of Time.

The title ‘Poem in October’ is an apt and suggestive reveals the theme of poem. Poet has presented his sweet past memories of the village where he passed his childhood. Indirectly poet compared his present city full of frustration, weariness, boredom with peaceful village life. The poem is a symbol of his thoughts and feelings towards his present life which is quite opposite to the picture of his small town. The poet becomes emotional and tries to be in those days of his village in October.

In this poem, Thomas describes the glory of nature. In the first part of the poem, poet describes beautiful and peaceful like of village, while in the second part poet describes mechanism of urban society. In the first line poet says that
“It was my thirtieth year to heaven
Woke to my hearing from harbor and neighbour wood”

These lines show the poet’s predicament with ironically. The poet describes leaving his house in early morning when he was 30.  In the morning on the shore the scene is so holy that the water seems to be praying and the herons seem to be priest. The River with mussels beautified the neighboring wood. Seagull and rooks (a crow – like bird) enjoy the water. Still poet remembers the sound of boats. Here, the poet shows that each and every object of nature welcome him with great love and care.

In second stanza, he walks through a scene which is a beautiful mingling of actuality and memory of country and sea, of sun and rain. When the birds fly over the water in a large number singing, the poet feels as if they all are flying his name in the air. As he says,
"My birthday began with the water bird,
And the birds of the winged, flying my name"

That little town where the poet was born still has the beauty of birds and the sound of high tide and also the birds diving in the water. It means the town has still such a glorious beauty, but his present city life has no such natural and pleasing atmosphere.

In the third stanza poet remembers that the larks sing as they sing in the spring but it October in which the sun shines like hot summer, whereas up till now he has ‘wandered and listened to the rain’. Thus in this stanza, there is a superb mingling of three seasons- summer, winter and rain. This is a rare combination found in poetry which shows the poet’s aesthetic sense. The poet also shows how powerful influence nature has made upon his mind, he writes,
“There could I marvel, My birthday,
Away but the weather turned around.”

Now poet turned into city. He believes that urban society is like outwardly solid but internally hollow. He compares garden and wood with each other. Here garden means scientific or artificial place while wood means village of forest. He would like to keep away from the city life. He does not like city’s atmosphere and its life style:
“That his tears burned my cheeks,
And his heart moved in mine.”

 In this things are gone and sweet memories burn the poet. He has whispered truth of joy to tear, stones, and the fish. The sweet song is still alive in the water and birds but he is not there. The song he used to sings is dead. The boy who had seen all this is dead. He believes that he had died when he came in city. The poet becomes emotional and tries to be in those days of his village in October.

To sum up, ‘Poem in October’ is one of the masterpieces in the field of modern poetry. It presents a sensational picture of nature which the poet enjoyed in his infancy his small town. Poet has indirectly presented the urban civilization in which man is living static and hectic life. A.S. Collins says ,
“A passionate love of nature linkened to childhood memories produced a beauty that touches the heart and stirs the sense.”

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