Poet Jane Hirshfield said "... the feeling I have about poem-writing (is) that it is always an exploration, of discovering something I didn't already know.  Who I am shifts from moment to moment, year to year.  What I can perceive does as well.  A new poem peers into mystery, into whatever lies just beyond the edge of knowable ground."

I bring a different poem to the writing classes each week, not only to inspire but to introduce new poets to the group members.

Fern Hill 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 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.

~from The Poems of Dylan Thomas (New Directions 1938- 1971)


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