Looking Glass Language

a word bird reflects on life & language


Dylan Thomas' writing shed, Laugharne

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

253698_1b33d754d791feadf3c0dbc27c493218.jpg_srz_200_266_75_22_0.50_1.20_026 TREASURES

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).

You can visit the 26 Treasures web page to discover more about the project here. Read the story behind the creation of my poem here. And buy the book here.

Welsh translation by Hilma Lloyd Edwards:

Trysor – Rhestr eiriau Dylan Thomas

On his birthdayUwch twyni’r bae a’i wylain lu

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.


One thought on “Poetry

  1. Pingback: 26 Atlantic Crossings | Looking Glass Language

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