Treasure Island

Dylan Thomas

(27 October 1914 – 9 November 1953 / Swansea / Wales)

Fern Hill


Now as I was young and easy under the apple boughs
About the lilting house and happy as the grass was green,
The night above the dingle starry,
Time let me hail and climb
Golden in the heydays of his eyes,
And honoured among wagons I was prince of the apple towns
And once below a time I lordly had the trees and leaves
Trail with daisies and barley
Down the rivers of the windfall light.

And as I was green and carefree, famous among the barns
About the happy yard and singing as the farm was home,
In the sun that is young once only,
Time let me play and be
Golden in the mercy of his means,
And green and golden I was huntsman and herdsman, the calves
Sang to my horn, the foxes on the hills barked clear and
cold,
And the sabbath rang slowly
In the pebbles of the holy streams.

All the sun long it was running, it was lovely, the hay
Fields high as the house, the tunes from the chimneys, it was
air
And playing, lovely and watery
And fire green as grass.
And nightly under the simple stars
As I rode to sleep the owls were bearing the farm away,
All the moon long I heard, blessed among stables, the
nightjars
Flying with the ricks, and the horses
Flashing into the dark.

And then to awake, and the farm, like a wanderer white
With the dew, come back, the cock on his shoulder: it was all
Shining, it was Adam and maiden,
The sky gathered again
And the sun grew round that very day.
So it must have been after the birth of the simple light
In the first, spinning place, the spellbound horses walking
warm
Out of the whinnying green stable
On to the fields of praise.

And honoured among foxes and pheasants by the gay house
Under the new made clouds and happy as the heart was long,
In the sun born over and over,
I ran my heedless ways,
My wishes raced through the house high hay
And nothing I cared, at my sky blue trades, that time allows
In all his tuneful turning so few and such morning songs
Before the children green and golden
Follow him out of grace.

Nothing I cared, in the lamb white days, that time would
take me
Up to the swallow thronged loft by the shadow of my hand,
In the moon that is always rising,
Nor that riding to sleep
I should hear him fly with the high fields
And wake to the farm forever fled from the childless land.
Oh as I was young and easy in the mercy of his means,
Time held me green and dying
Though I sang in my chains like the sea.

Submitted: Friday, January 03, 2003

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  • Gregory Bell15388 (12/18/2013 8:14:00 PM)

    Oh, what a lovely, haunting, haunted poem of the exuberance of youth, full of discovery, and the inevitable loss of innocence. Could be my favorite poem, if not the best ever penned. (Report) Reply

  • Tony Walton (8/26/2012 10:59:00 AM)

    This is just about my favourite poem of the 20th century.
    If you love Dylan, read my poem 'Portrait of Dylan' posted today. (Report) Reply

  • Sylva Portoian (3/1/2010 5:48:00 AM)

    I feel some readers don't understand Dylan's stanzas
    And give marks with confidence!

    I will never say please...
    If you don't understand don't assess
    No one asked you to do!

    Understand...
    His I.Q is higher than yours
    You can't read his soul
    His Soul is full of beauty
    Is more purer than a saint
    And his spirit not every one can reach
    Hence... to assess!

    I remain speachless...

    I'm trying to communice with some of his to soul
    I hope I shall...
    I hope I can treat his Darted Heart
    So Innocent so True.

    © Sylva Portoian, MD
    Written Instantly (Report) Reply

  • Ian Fraser (2/18/2009 9:12:00 PM)

    The Welsh poet, Dylan Thomas, was one of the great writers of childhood and there are a number of his evocations on poethunter.com. By popular consent this is his finest. Perhaps this is so because at the conclusion he is forced to lament the passing of his childhood, 'Oh I was young and easy in the mercy of his means. Time held me green and dying, though I sang in my chains like the sea.' The poem is not faultless and does perhaps overdo slightly the repetiton of certain phrases, but it nevertheless glows with the most wonderful color, green and gold principally, and is shot through with many of the magical metaphors for which Thomas was famous. I had great difficulty choosing just one of Dylan Thomas' poems to go into my list of favorite poets (I had decided that in the interests of fairness I would only include one from each writer) . His two on the theme of death, 'And Death shall have no Dominion' and ' Do Not Go Gently into that Good Night' came very close and I might somewhat mischievously have chosen the whole of the unique 'Under Milk Wood' but in the end it had to be this. (Report) Reply

  • Cathy King (5/22/2008 3:07:00 PM)

    This is possibly my very favorite poem ever. I actually declined to memorize it because I didn't want it ever to become rote. (Report) Reply

  • Tony Best (2/29/2008 6:01:00 PM)

    This is one of the most beautiful poems ever. It reminds me of the freedom of childhood, when my soul was clear and sweet. A truly eternal poem (Report) Reply

  • Robert Howard (12/24/2006 11:07:00 AM)

    There is a beautiful choral setting of this poem by the Pulitzer Prize winning composer, John Corigliano. (Report) Reply

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