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Fern Hill

Dylan Thomas

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Fern Hill
2004-04-07
Added by: Martin Coleman
You can go to Swansea. You can go to the Gower and see those farms. You can live one of two lives. You can see the cars and the traffic and the drugs and the drinking. Or you can see what Dylan saw. Another world, so beautiful it makes you cry. Where the sun glints off the sea over the Mumbles rocks. Where the green of the grass and the apples and the gold of the hay strikes you dumb.

Some people, unfortunately, can't see this world. It's a world that is easy for the Celts to understand. Ask any true Welshman, Scot or Irishman. But it's not restricted to them. It's just very very difficult to put into words. Think of very very special times you had as a kid and try and explain those feelings to someone else, and you will see that few people can explain it. Dylan had a very good go at doing this.

It's so sad that the best some people can say is 'crap'. It says far more about the shallowness of these people than the depth of Dylan.
readable
2004-05-14
Added by: nameless
This poem may be hard to understand but that does not mean it is unreadable. Try reading it out loud, that always helps. Dylan Thomas has a way with his poetry, he is able to write a meaningful poem that gives the reader no meaning, you are able to make a meaining for yourself. Thomas allows the reader to make up a meaning that is meaningful to that persons life. I believe the poem is stating that you are dying as soon as you are born, it also talks of losing ones innocence. The poem actually reminds me of a pastoral poem.
2004-05-24
Added by: John Frasca
This site is amazing!
The Poem
2004-06-02
Added by: Steve
There are many aspects to poetry in general that Dylan Thomas was a master of and he is rare for his clarity, vivid diction, and wonderful imagination. All poems have a meaning and this is what seems to confuse some people. I'm not here to explain the poem, I doubt Dylan Thomas himself would be able to, that is why he wrote it. "Fern Hill" is his way of expressing what the poem says.

The sonic level has always amazed me about Thomas. He was a master of alliteration, consonance, assonance, and rhyme (whether internal or external). I could read his work all day and never get tired of it, hearing new sound combinations each time, some of which remind me of medieval Whelsh ballad constructions, though somewhat loosely adapted to suit his own desires.

This poem, like most poetry, doesn't say anything new, rather Thomas has found a new way of expressing the old man vs time and age story. This is the goal of many writers and one of the challenges for mankind. Everyone has experienced what Thomas is writing, but he, like other great poets, was more sensitive to nature, man, and the relationships between the two. To me the secret of poetry is not to wow the world with the shock value of new and strange things, but to apply familiar things in a new way so as to do it in a subtle manner. I could go on and on, but I've spoken enough already I guess.

Needless to say, if anyone reading this wishes to write good poetry, study Thomas. How "Fern Hill" is written is an education in itself.
Fern Hill
2004-06-18
Added by: John Joseph
Thomas repeats the colors “green” and “golden” throughout the poem. “Fern Hill” invokes the poet’s childhood on a farm; the hay fields as high as the house can be visualized as a great golden forest in the eyes of a child. The purity and light of childhood can be seen as golden. Green appears as grass and trees, as a symbol for his innocence and a metaphor for the great life-force he perceives around him.
Both the sun and moon serve as temporal references for Thomas. “All the sun long” and “All the moon long” quantify his days. Children often perceive time in this manner. When he writes, “Time let me lay and be Golden in the mercy of his means,” and “Time let me hail and climb Golden in the heydays of his eyes,” it seems as if God and time are interchangeable in his mind. The poem has religious overtones: “the Sabbath rang slowly in the pebbles of the holy streams” and his reference to “Adam and maiden (Eve)”. One imagines that the author is in an Edenic state of consciousness, breathless with the beauty he recalls.
At the end of the poem he mourns the loss of childhood: “Before the children green and golden follow him out of grace…” and then he alludes to aging and death. “Time held me green and dying though I sang in my chains like the sea.”
The repetition of the line “As I was young and easy” at the beginning and end of the poem unites the tone of his carefree childhood. He also has a grandiose sense of his place in his rich rural landscape: “honored among wagons I was prince of the apple towns” and “ (I was) famous among the barns.”
Thomas’ nearly stream-of-consciousness imagery is wildly luminous and took many readings for me to begin to grasp. I was at first frustrated with the incongruity of his language, then with each reading the meanings revealed themselves with the images. What a gorgeous poem!!
Thomas repeats the colors “green” and “golden” throughout the poem. “Fern Hill” invokes the poet’s childhood on a farm; the hay fields as high as the house can be visualized as a great golden forest in the eyes of a child. The purity and light of childhood can be seen as golden. Green appears as grass and trees, as a symbol for his innocence and a metaphor for the great life-force he perceives around him.
Both the sun and moon serve as temporal references for Thomas. “All the sun long” and “All the moon long” quantify his days. Children often perceive time in this manner. When he writes, “Time let me lay and be Golden in the mercy of his means,” and “Time let me hail and climb Golden in the heydays of his eyes,” it seems as if God and time are interchangeable in his mind. The poem has religious overtones: “the Sabbath rang slowly in the pebbles of the holy streams” and his reference to “Adam and maiden (Eve)”. One imagines that the author is in an Edenic state of consciousness, breathless with the beauty he recalls.
At the end of the poem he mourns the loss of childhood: “Before the children green and golden follow him out of grace…” and then he alludes to aging and death. “Time held me green and dying though I sang in my chains like the sea.”
The repetition of the line “As I was young and easy” at the beginning and end of the poem unites the tone of his carefree childhood. He also has a grandiose sense of his place in his rich rural landscape: “honored among wagons I was prince of the apple towns” and “ (I was) famous among the barns.”
Thomas’ nearly stream-of-consciousness imagery is wildly luminous and took many readings for me to begin to grasp. I was at first frustrated with the incongruity of his language, then with each reading the meanings revealed themselves with the images. What a gorgeous poem!!
2004-07-12
Added by: Sarah
I agree with Susan.
2004-07-17
Added by: Ben
i recently read Fern Hill and it did not make sense to me...however, when i read all the comments that were posted here..i began to understand what Thomas was trying to imply...it's a beautiful piece of literature....i have a little trouble understanding the last 2 stanzas...what do you think they mean?
Okay! For All!
2004-07-26
Added by: Dylan Talley
Okay, I'm gonna get informal cause tonight ten cups of coffee render me shaky and careless, alchohol has the exact oposite effect.

I'm gonna deal with the people who peeve me for even suggesting there are no Biblical references in this poem or that it deserves no reading or it has no meang,(scholar, pshh).

For those who think Dylan Thomas didn't give the lift of a finger for religion, I tell you now--and you can check any biography-- he says himself that he was influenced greatly, at an early age, by the Bible. Some of you are so damned quick to call a poem atheistic it makes me sick! Just because it's idealistic that poets are wild and religiousless now, doesn't mean everything that even has a smudge of Holy slick in it has to be a mockery, or written by some religiose stiff who doesn't deserve the light of day because he's bad at what he wastes his time at anyway.

Now, Daniel Blank, I don't care if you are a scholar and how many people share your literary theory, I say you are either lazy or have figured out intellectual literary lingo and tried to spice up your rubbish...or both. I also think that because you can't understand Thomas's poem, or maybe any poem, you feel comfortable to call it a wail (if you care to strain yourself check out Adam's post, a couple below you, for a Bob Dylan reference, though I'm affraid he might mean it to imply something quite different) .
I feel sorry for you, man! You compared him to Poe? Poe? Where do you get off? Dylan Thomas is incomparable, but most influencial. And judging by the nature of this little oh-so- important philosophy, YOU might call this a curse.

That's all folks,
Dylan
I must add...
2004-07-26
Added by: Dylan
that I believe that one should not look for meaning, no, but should acknowlege that there could be a meaning and let the meaning come as it will, and as it is given by the author.

Anyway, I'm not worried. History tells me poetry will never die because of a few who posess no poetic sensability. Who am I kidding, the world keeps getting dumber...in every sense you can imagine. Wait, I shouldn't leave that up to readers, should I?
2004-08-05
Added by: Megan
After reading your comment AM, I am looking at fern hill in a completely different perspective! I am ment to analyse this poem for my year 12 poetry appreciation and you have helped my to understand it so much better. As for kate, maybe u should try a bit harder and stop wingeing about things u cannot change. thank you so mcuh AM

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