Dylan Thomas’s Word List
A poem in response to Dylan Thomas’s wordlist for ‘Poem on his birthday’
Above the gull-strewn, sand-duned bay
Where water rip-curls, spurting spray
At sullen skies that threaten rain,
He crumples paper; tries again
Lighting his umpteenth cigarette,
Sifting thesaurus and alphabet,
He aspirates and assonates as he inscribes
The creamy page with blue word-tribes
Striving, in the ever-creeping gloom
Of his womb-like, tomb-like room,
Though brain-wracked and battle-scarred,
To be THE poet; THE bard
This poem features in 26 Treasures, a beautiful book published by Unbound and launched at the V&A in September 2012.
In 2012, 26 writers, among them one of my favourite poets, the wonderful Maura Dooley, Gillian Clarke, the National Poet of Wales, and me, were paired with treasures from four great museums in England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland. We were tasked with writing a poem in exactly 62 words that responded in some way to a treasure with which we were randomly paired (actually Gillian cheated, and chose her own).
Welsh translation by Hilma Lloyd Edwards:
Trysor – Rhestr eiriau Dylan Thomas
Lle troella dŵr, tasgu ewyn fry
At awyr flin sy’n bygwth glawio,
Gwasga bapur; cynnig eto.
A’i gant-a-milfed sigarét ynghyn,
Gogrwn geiriadur a gwyddor fyn,
Treiglo, cyseinio, rhoi â blas
Ar ddalen wen llwyth geiriau glas.
Ymdrechu ’ngwyll ymledol ’stafell
Sydd megis croth, megis claddgell,
Er meddwl ysig, creithiau brwydr,
I fod Y bardd; YR awdur.