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Dylan Thomas wrote on a large variety of subjects. A number of his poems are on his own birthday and “Poem in October” is one of them. 

The poet celebrates his thirtieth birthday and he realises with a sense of grief that he has crossed another milestone on the road to heaven, i. e. on the road to death, but a moment later his mind is filled with a kind of joy when looking around in the pleasant morning he finds that the whole world belongs to him. He feels happy that he is greeted by many objects and creatures of nature such as the priest like herons sitting on the shore, the fish in the pools of water, the seagull and the rooks, the boats sailing on the water. The poet walks out of the town (Laughorne in Carmarthenshire, Wales), summoned by the call of the birds, and the beauties of the natural sights. 

It seems to the poet that even the water-birds and the birds flying over the trees are aware of his birthday and seem to be celebrating the occasion by flying over the farms and over the white coloured horses, proclaiming his name. October, the autumn month in which Thomas was born, is often rainy. Confusedly the autumn rain is transformed into a “shower” of all his days past, which he now remembers. The dream world into which the poet has escaped from the harsh reality is broken and the herons and the ‘high tides’ which seemed to him to be celebrating his birthday and praying for him are no longer there. They dive into the ocean as if to disappear from the scene. 

Climbing up the hill, the poet looks up and finds that the clouds are full of larks as in the spring season. On the hill the poet is confused as to seasons and climates. It is both spring-like and summery. 

As the poet reaches the top of the hill, the harbour seems to dwindle in size and the distant church looks as small as a snail with “horns” which signifies the towers of the church. It was possible for the poet to spend his whole birthday in the world of wonder and delight, but the weather changed. The change of weather here implies a change in the mental climate of the poet. The poet’s mind turns from his present surroundings to something else, namely, his days of childhood. 

The poet remembers the happy and glorious days of his childhood which he passed in Fern Hill, where was situated the farm of his aunt. It was a country noted for apples, pears, and currants, and the boy Dylan walked like a lord there. 

The poet had, as a child actually witnessed the fields and woods, and now he sees them again though imagination. He remembers vividly the tears he had shed as a child. The memory of those tears makes him feel as if they are once again flowing down his checks. 

Thus “Poem in October” is an attempt to recapture the sweet memories of childhood through which the poet seeks an escape, a refuge from the harsh realities of life at least for a moment. 


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