A Letter To My Aunt Poem by Dylan Thomas

A Letter To My Aunt

Rating: 2.9


A Letter To My Aunt Discussing The Correct Approach To Modern Poetry


To you, my aunt, who would explore
The literary Chankley Bore,
The paths are hard, for you are not
A literary Hottentot
But just a kind and cultured dame
Who knows not Eliot (to her shame) .
Fie on you, aunt, that you should see
No genius in David G.,
No elemental form and sound
In T.S.E. and Ezra Pound.
Fie on you, aunt! I'll show you how
To elevate your middle brow,
And how to scale and see the sights
From modernist Parnassian heights.

First buy a hat, no Paris model
But one the Swiss wear when they yodel,
A bowler thing with one or two
Feathers to conceal the view;
And then in sandals walk the street
(All modern painters use their feet
For painting, on their canvas strips,
Their wives or mothers, minus hips) .

Perhaps it would be best if you
Created something very new,
A dirty novel done in Erse
Or written backwards in Welsh verse,
Or paintings on the backs of vests,
Or Sanskrit psalms on lepers' chests.
But if this proved imposs-i-ble
Perhaps it would be just as well,
For you could then write what you please,
And modern verse is done with ease.

Do not forget that 'limpet' rhymes
With 'strumpet' in these troubled times,
And commas are the worst of crimes;
Few understand the works of Cummings,
And few James Joyce's mental slummings,
And few young Auden's coded chatter;
But then it is the few that matter.
Never be lucid, never state,
If you would be regarded great,
The simplest thought or sentiment,
(For thought, we know, is decadent):
Never omit such vital words
As belly, genitals and - - -,
For these are things that play a part
(And what a part) in all good art.
Remember this: each rose is wormy,
And every lovely woman's germy;
Remember this: that love depends
On how the Gallic letter bends;
Remember, too, that life is hell
And even heaven has a smell
Of putrefying angels who
Make deadly whoopee in the blue.
These things remembered, what can stop
A poet going to the top?

A final word: before you start
The convulsions of your art,
Remove your brains, take out your heart;
Minus these curses, you can be
A genius like David G.

Take courage, aunt, and send your stuff
To Geoffrey Grigson with my luff,
And may I yet live to admire
How well your poems light the fire.

A Letter To My Aunt
COMMENTS OF THE POEM
Susan Williams 23 December 2015

What a delightful wry verse that sets me to chuckling at his rapier wit

23 2 Reply
Christy Oreilly 07 April 2005

who thinks she is poet and then tells her to be more outright with her thouths even if she was he knows the paper sheets she writes her poems? on will warm him when he throws them on the the flames on the fire.

10 8 Reply
Shaun Cronick 28 April 2020

What are trying to say? She? ? ?

0 0 Reply
Mandara Pookal 21 November 2009

Very beautifully rendered work. mandara

15 2 Reply
Resten Swondo 01 January 2010

Thomas takes the mickey with this one so blatantly that one is hard pressed to find a wordsmith with more rancour for the craft of fellow poets unless they conform to some predetermined standard of which Thomas approves. Nonetheless, a fitting end in this poem suggests to me that this is where most contemporary poetry belongs - inspiring of some fireborne thoughts.

14 3 Reply
Parritosh Dhoot 06 June 2022

Write comment without space whatever even this website but oh so lovely what can i do just created this dumb account all a broke man can afford but shall ask parents to buy hat for finally so cringy but fooling people with love is all it takes

0 0 Reply
Parritosh Dhoot 06 June 2022

Writing comments,

0 0 Reply
Aidan Malik 23 June 2020

noice i like it k keep it up ur good at dis

4 0 Reply
Walterrean Salley 29 November 2016

**Really makes ya think.

7 1 Reply
Soumita Sarkar 04 January 2016

My..my..what a poem telling what modern poetry n verse is not and what it has...Bravo! ! !

9 2 Reply
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Dylan Thomas

Dylan Thomas

Swansea / Wales
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