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Fern Hill

Dylan Thomas

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fern hill
2002-01-31
Added by: mark
has long been my favorite poem. recently someone asked me why. there is a use of language by thomas that is musical. he speaks of hayfields high as a house, and the tunes from the chimneys.

sabbath rang slowly in the pebbles of the holy stream...

there is a capturing of beauty, of visual sights rendered musical.

sometimes trying to explain something renders it less powerful. perhaps that is the case here.
Arrgghh
2002-03-19
Added by: Frederic
If you're going to write a piece, you might as well make it readable. This poem is full of imagery that only the author would know the meaning... This kind of garbage should be kept to one's self. One should use a color (in this case-green) for one meaning, instead of changing it inexplicably mid-prose to confuse those who must write a thesis on it...
Sorry...
2002-03-19
Added by: Frederic
It's me again. I'm bitter. You've probably guessed that already...
Oh my god...
2002-03-20
Added by: Frederic
As I was 75% done writing an thesis discrediting the drunken author, I was struck by a blinding flash! It all makes sense, and it's actually a most beautiful poem on youth's innocence and the realization of one's inescapable terminal nature!
"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" - He is saying that religion has come to exist because of the realization that we will all die, that is how we have come to praise... The simple light is the knowledge that we will die, green is associated with youth and ignorance, the horses are the people, so the people left the stable of ignorance upon having seen the light and flocked to the fields to praise a god! There is more to it, but this just goes to prove that there is something to his befuddling alegories!
2002-04-27
Added by: Chitra
The poem is clearly abt thoas reminiscing his childhood, and also abt the theme of death, a theme thomas was obsessed with. full of literary symbols, rejuvinated cliches, its text is rich.
2002-09-27
Added by: Janet
Frederic - get over the Jesus thing.
To Janet
2002-10-27
Added by: Jessica
Why should Frederic 'get over the Jesus thing'. Anyone reading this beautiful poem can see that it is FILLED with allusions to the Bible:

the sabbath, holdy streams, Adam and the maiden (Eve), lamb-white days, etc...

If you leave religion out of this poem, you are missing the whole point.

Good insight Frederic.
Oh, My God
2002-10-28
Added by: AM
If you think that this is a religious poem in the conventional sense, then it’s you who is missing the point. Thomas’s famous last words were, “"I've just had eighteen straight whiskies. I think that's the record." He was not a typically God-fearing man. However, that’s not relevant here, but it did make me smile. If the ‘explanation’ below renders the poem less powerful, then I’m sorry. I think that we all need help. The reason that Thomas uses religious language is not because he is religious! Is it not possible that Thomas is using religion to express the intensity of childhood innocence? Mind you, the use of UPPER CASE letters to FILL the comment does render it more convincing.

“Fern Hill was a farm near Llanbri, between Carmarthen and Llanstephan; it was the home of the poet's aunt, Anne Jones, whose death is mourned in an early poem – ‘After the Funeral’. The poem shows that Dylan Thomas remembers how he enjoyed holidays spent there away FROM Swansea, and now idealises the excitement and innocence of childhood in the way that Vaughan, Rousseau and Wordsworth did.

Thomas is trying to communicate the exhilaration that he felt as a child, and which gives such vitality and freshness to the short stories about childhood that he called ‘Portrait of the Artist as a Young Dog’. To do this his poetry uses language in a very original and eloquent way, and the reader has to co-operate by taking this sparkling torrent of words in the spirit in which it is written and not to expect individual words to have the exact meaning or grammatical construction that they normally have. There is much repetition: he is ‘easy under the apple boughs’ and ‘prince of the apple towns’. In fact, ‘green’ is repeated in each stanza. There are startling similes such as ’fire green as grass’.

There are many transferred epithets such as:

‘spellbound horses walking warm

Out of the whinnying green stable.’

There are repeated unsystematic references to the buildings of the farm where Dylan is living or staying.



The metaphors are arresting in various ways. When he 'rode to sleep' the verb reminds us how the child, falling asleep after an exciting day, continues in sleep the sensations and movements of the unforgettable day. Similarly in 'A Visit to Grandpa's' the boy has ‘a dream full of whips and lariats as long as serpents, and runaway coaches on mountain passes, and wide windy gallops over cactus fields’. The metaphor ‘it was Adam and maiden’ gains its effect by compression; we sense that the boy's life had the freshness and innocence that life had in the Garden of Eden when Adam first met the virgin Eve. The poem also contains continual exaggeration as when the hay fields were ‘high as the house’. But these hyperboles SHOW us how things seemed to a child, just as phrases such as ‘all the moon long’ SHOW how a child measures time. The poem exalts childhood for the child was ‘honoured’, ‘lordly’ and ‘famous’

Most of the poem is capable of paraphrase; for instance, line 6 means: 'I felt as important and honoured as a prince when I played among the farm wagons or among the apple trees which surrounded me like buildings of a town'. Or lines 17 and 18 mean: 'The sound of the streams over the pebbles called me to worship Nature just as the church bells on the Sabbath call Christians to worship'. But to paraphrase such lines is to destroy Thomas's musical effects and the strong emotional responses of his evocative images.

The first two stanzas (lines 1-18) describe the boy's impressions of innocent but self-centred happiness on one wonderful day. In lines 23-24 he goes to sleep and dreams that the owls and nightjars whisk the farm away. In lines 28-29 it comes back at dawn as the boy wakes up and it looks wet with dew as though it has been out all night. The farm comes to life again as though the miracle of The Creation is being repeated. In line 37 Dylan is ‘honoured’ not merely among wagons but ‘among foxes and pheasants’: he has been accepted as part of Nature. But the stanza ends with the first suggestion that this childhood happiness cannot last, and Time, in the last stanza, leads him to the loft to sleep again. When he wakes on this second morning (1. 51) the swallows, the symbols of his innocence, will have flown away and the land will be childless because his childhood is over.”

Can it get any worse?!?!?
2003-03-12
Added by: Kate
OMG this poem is impossible to understand, my teacher assigned us to use TP-CASTT and SOAPS analysis to analyze this poem and I am having the hardest time paraphrarsing it!!!
Why would Thomas write somethin so... so HORRIBLE!!! He and physcos are probably the only ones who can understand it... ohh wait I forgot the Goths and people with no life, they can also read it. I think he should go back in time right when he finished that poem and wasn't published yet and throw it in the fire-(though he's dead now). Fern Hill was the WORST, and I mean WORST, poem I have EVER read, and I have read some really bad peoms who would be awesome compared to this!!!
2003-03-20
Added by: Susan
Kate you are an idiot

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