Critical appreciation of Poem in October

Question: Write the Critical appreciation of Poem in October


“Poem in October” is one of the best lyrics by the Welsh poet Dylan Thomas (1914-1953). The poem is an attempt to reminisce about the glorious vision and innocence of childhood and through it the liberation from the harsh realities of life. It is called a birthday poem because the poet has described his thirtieth birthday celebrations in a philosophical way. The Critical appreciation of Poem in October is illustrated here.

Key Facts

“Poem in October” is one of the four birthday poems that Thomas wrote at different times. It was written in 1944 and published in 1946 in the collection of poetry entitled “Deaths and Entrance”. The place setting of the poem is Laugharne and Fern Hill of Swansea. It comprises seven stanzas and each of the stanzas consists of ten lines.

Metrical Perspective

Dylan Thomas was a conscientious artist in his use of the word, as well as a constant examiner of Verse form and stanza pattern. In his earliest poems, he followed the traditional patterns of meter and stanza patterns. But in “Poem in October”, Thomas uses the verse form of its own as the poet uses the syllabic meter but there is no specified number of stresses to set it aside like any specific metrical pattern. However, this syllabic metrical pattern has created a superb lyrical quality of the poem relevant to the theme.

Subject matter or theme

The theme is considered to be the oxygen of any literary work. The theme of the poem is ‘recalling the past or childhood memories’.

Critical synopsis of the Poem

The poet has originally described that he has crossed another milestone on the road to death. On the morning of his thirtieth birthday, the whole world around him seems to belong to him; This is his world. He walks outside the city and observes landscapes and natural phenomena in a mood of almost religious joy. But his mind is not limited to the present and its surroundings. His mind goes back to childhood and he remembers some of the experiences of childhood. From what he has been able to see the difference between the present and past. The poet feels heavy nostalgia while describing his childhood. He has illustrated it as legends and parables. That is why he becomes a child again and he finds the true joy of the long-dead childhood. Thus, it turns into a deeply moving poem, where Thomas finds himself as both a man and a child in his thirties.

Artistic devices

For artistic devices, the poem is rich in imagery and symbolism. In fact, the images became symbols by carrying the deep thoughts and states of the poet’s mind. Life is the symbol of the journey to death and death is proclaimed at the outset of the poem by the word ‘heaven’.

“It was my thirtieth year to heaven

Woke to my hearing from harbor and neighbour wood”

Surrealistic images of nature symbolize god’s glory. Childhood symbolically illustrates innocence, moral, and spiritual lessons. Adulthood symbolizes the baffling problems of life and the vanishing of time towards death like an iceberg. We also find the thickness of simile, metaphor, paradoxes, allusion, puns, etc. Thus the philosophic idea of the poet as to life and death makes a religious one.

The message of the poem

As soon as the vision comes, it goes away. The last stanza begins by repeating the words:

“And there could I marvel my birthday

Away but the weather turned around.”

Delighted to see this fleeting vision, the poet returns to the prayer that ends the poem:

“O may my heart’s truth

Still be sung

On this high hill in a year’s turning.”

Without any idea of what kind of change a year will bring – what kind of vision or artistic form it will bring that is why the poet frankly prays that this kind of praise for God should be continued into the future for giving us the opportunity to carry on and enjoy our life speculatively.


In short, “Poem in October” is one of the best works of art in modern poetry. It presents a moving picture of nature that the poet enjoyed as a child in his small town. The poet indirectly represents urban civilization where people are living a static and hectic life. As Collins says, “A passionate love of nature linked to childhood memories produced a beauty that touches the heart and stirs the sense.”

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SR Sarker
SR Sarker
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