18 pages 36 minutes read

Dylan Thomas

All That I Owe the Fellows of the Grave

Fiction | Poem | Adult | Published in 1933

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"Spring and Fall" by Gerald Manley Hopkins (1880)

Thomas long acknowledged the influence of Hopkins in his own reinvention of the poetic line and his unconventional use of tricky rhythms. A wistful lyrical meditation on growing old as seen through the eyes of a child, the Hopkins poem argues, much as the Thomas poem does, that given the reality of life’s quick passing, every moment is rare and welcome. Like Thomas’s poem, this poem is set to Hopkins’s own eccentric rhythms, and similarly plays with the elegant intricacies of sounds and the sonic appeal of long vowels and sibilant consonants.

"To His Coy Mistress" by Andrew Marvell (1681)

Thomas has open fascination with the elegant philosophical meditations on time and mortality that defined the British metaphysical poets of the late 17th century, among them the prolific Marvell. Another carpe diem poem, the narrative of seduction typifies Marvell’s wit and is a subtle celebration of indulgent eros despite moral consequences. Love, the poem argues, alone affirms the purpose of an otherwise brief and pointless life—an echo of Thomas’s own affirmation of the power of the heart.

"Do Not Go Gentle into That Good Night" by Dylan Thomas (1947)