Dylan Thomas

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

Fern Hill

Poem by Dylan Thomas

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
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
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
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
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.

Comments about Fern Hill by Dylan Thomas

  • michael walker. (8/11/2019 9:36:00 PM)

    I still recall teaching this lyrical poem to a sixth form class, who liked it-as I did.
    Thomas gives idyllic memories of his childhood, with striking images, ' I
    was prince of the apple towns'. That reminded me of picking apples in
    someone's orchard, unknown to the owner. 'Time held me green and dying/
    Though I sang in my chains like the sea'.(Report)Reply

    26 person liked.
    2 person did not like.
  • Don KubickiDon Kubicki (7/7/2019 9:15:00 PM)

    This is my favorite Dylan Thomas poem. The imagery, symbolism and the sound. The rhythm carries the reader through a magical world of Welsh childhood.(Report)Reply

    38 person liked.
    1 person did not like.
  • Shaun CronickShaun Cronick (7/1/2019 4:19:00 PM)

    Brilliant Dylan Thomas.You sir are once in a lifetime.(Report)Reply

    44 person liked.
    0 person did not like.
  • james charles (6/30/2019 1:23:00 PM)

    This ' sucks. It's not 'deep' its just confusing and lacking of a meaning or point. I have severe insomnia, and this actually put me to sleep for once. Thank you Dylan Thomas for sucking so much hairy monkey rock that you can cure people's sleeping troubles.(Report)Reply

    3 person liked.
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  • Adeeb AlfatehAdeeb Alfateh (6/30/2019 12:44:00 AM)

    All the moon long I heard, blessed among stables, the
    Flying with the ricks, and the horses
    Flashing into the dark.

    great write
    great 10+++++++++++++++++++++++++(Report)Reply

    26 person liked.
    6 person did not like.
  • I am crying this is so good (4/30/2019 7:11:00 AM)

    His is an amazing poem written by Dylan Thomas. This is Rich and full of amazing imagery(Report)Reply

    34 person liked.
    4 person did not like.
  • Barry Jackman (1/26/2019 5:05:00 PM)

    Myra Morgan introduced me to Dylan Thomas fifty years ago.
    The richness of his imagery continues to grow over the years.(Report)Reply

    41 person liked.
    1 person did not like.
  • James M (12/20/2018 5:16:00 AM)

    As a simple soul myself I find this poem quite difficult.For me AE Houseman’s ‘Into My Heart An Air That Kills’, from
    ‘A Shropshire Lad’ says everything in eight simple, beautiful lines.No matter how many times I read it, it never fails to bring a lump to my throat or a tear to my eye (usually both) .i love Dylan Thomas, ’Under Milk Wood’ is magical, but Houseman wins this one.(Report)Reply

    Deidre Huestis(2/28/2019 12:28:00 AM)

    Yes, but Fern Hill ends with " though I sang in my chains like the sea" rather than discontent. Fern Hill seems to me a deeper more complex poem

    35 person liked.
    1 person did not like.
  • C. McShane (11/15/2018 6:27:00 PM)

    A wonderful nostalgic memory of carefree childhood untrammelled by the guilt and decadence of
    Pleasures which become soured as age propels you away from lost innocence. Favourite poem.(Report)Reply

    40 person liked.
    2 person did not like.
  • ginny mcguire (10/4/2018 12:00:00 PM)

    i like under milk wood by dylan tohmas i think it is relley good(Report)Reply

    41 person liked.
    1 person did not like.
  • Dr Keats (9/3/2018 8:08:00 AM)

    If I wrote like that, I would be lambasted. Terrible.(Report)Reply

    god of gaming and all things epic(6/30/2019 1:20:00 PM)

    hello i am the god of gaming and all things epic and i must say that this comment is EPIC

    13 person liked.
    38 person did not like.
  • Juliet (6/11/2018 10:45:00 AM)

    I was thinking about this poem at my Grandson's 4th birthday party, and the phrase 'green, and dying'- because they are already on a one way course to old age- seemed really apt.(Report)Reply

    Deidre Huestis(2/28/2019 12:30:00 AM)

    I was thinking the same thing

    38 person liked.
    1 person did not like.
  • Pete Lunde (5/30/2018 6:49:00 PM)

    Simply one of the purest and most musical of poems. Magical, breathlessly sonic and soulful, to be read again and again.(Report)Reply

    42 person liked.
    1 person did not like.
  • Patricia Johnson (2/10/2018 3:44:00 PM)

    As a child I regularly visited my great-uncle's farm in the Yorkshire Dales, UK. This poem so completely recreates that time that although I was a professional reader I cannot speak Fern Hill aloud without choking up.(Report)Reply

    46 person liked.
    2 person did not like.
  • Beryl Manning (1/8/2018 8:50:00 PM)

    I could smell the hay, feel the breeze, and run with the wind on Fern Farm. Good to have memories to cozy up to and take you away for a moment.(Report)Reply

    43 person liked.
    1 person did not like.
  • Kingo Michael (12/5/2017 6:35:00 AM)

    One thing i observed, his fondness to natural environment is vividly reflected in this poem.(Report)Reply

    41 person liked.
    1 person did not like.
  • boi boi (12/4/2017 6:02:00 AM)

    u guys are idiots and should rethink your whole lives while u actually read poems(Report)Reply

    Ariel(7/6/2018 9:29:00 PM)

    I'll put a girdle round about your micro-mind in forty femtoseconds

    42 person liked.
    10 person did not like.
  • Denis Prosser (7/11/2017 11:48:00 AM)

    One of Dylan Thomas's best poems. The sheer delight of childhood imagination just pours from this poem. But the stealthy thief of childhood, time, lurks in the background(Report)Reply

    37 person liked.
    7 person did not like.
  • Tapan M. SarenTapan M. Saren (4/16/2017 12:06:00 AM)

    Lovely poem.............(Report)Reply

    36 person liked.
    9 person did not like.
  • Bill CraneBill Crane (9/28/2016 6:56:00 PM)

    I recall how this poem moved me when I was in my early twenties (mid 1960s) , engaging me to challenge those physical, moral and social boundaries of my youth like so many of my contemporaries. Reading it now in my 70's reinvigorates my spirit: I am still young and easy and grateful that Time let me play and be
    Golden in the mercy of his means.(Report)Reply

    50 person liked.
    6 person did not like.
Read all 46 comments »

Fern Hill Score Card

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4,0 / 5 (127 votes)36

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Read poems about / on: green, house, happy, moon, sun, sleep, running, birth, sky, time, children, light, fire, home, sea, dark, horse, child, river, rose

Poem Submitted: Friday, January 3, 2003

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