Poem in October is a notable literary work by Dylan Thomas. A complete discussion of this literary work is given, which will help you enhance your literary skills and prepare for the exam. Read the main text, key info, Summary, Themes, Characters, Literary Devices, Quotations, Notes, to various questions of Poem in October.
Critically evaluate the poem “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 a birthday poem because the poet has philosophically described his thirtieth birthday celebrations.
Key Facts: “Poem in October” is one of Thomas’s four birthday poems 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 using the word and a constant examiner of Verse form and stanza pattern. In his earliest poems, he followed the traditional patterns of meter and stanza pattern. But in “Poem in October”, Thomas uses the verse form 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: Theme is considered the oxygen of any literary work. The poem’s theme 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 world around him seems to belong to him; This is his world. Outside the city, he 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 childhood experiences. From what he has seen, the present and past differences are evident. 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 finds the true joy of his long-dead childhood. Thus, it turns into a deeply moving poem, where Thomas finds himself both a man and a child in his thirties.
Artistic devices: For artistic devices the poem is rich in imagery and symbolism. The images became symbols by carrying the deep thoughts and states of the poet’s mind. Life symbolises the journey to death, and the word’ heaven’ proclaims death at the poem’s outset.
“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, and moral and spiritual lessons. Adulthood symbolizes baffling problems of life and the vanishing of time towards death like an iceberg. We also find the thickness of similes, metaphors, paradoxes, allusion, puns, etc.; thus, the philosophic idea of the poet as to life and death makes it a religious one.
The poem’s message: 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 for giving us the opportunity to carry on and enjoy our life speculatively.
In short, “Poem in October” is one of modern poetry’s best works of art. 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 live static and hectic lives. As Collins says,
“A passionate love of nature linked to childhood memories produced a beauty that touches the heart and stirs the sense.”