Comment on the use of imagery and symbols in ‘Poem in October’.

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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.


Comment on the use of imagery and symbols in ‘Poem in October’.

Poem in October” by Dylan Thomas (1914-53) is an iconic poem that employs vivid imagery and symbols to capture the essence of a birthday morning. This poem was composed in 1944. It reflects on the poet’s thirtieth birthday and the tranquil beauty of nature. “Dylan Thomas’s ‘Poem in October’ is a masterpiece exploration of the passage of time, memory, and the interconnectedness of nature and human experience. Thomas uses vivid imagery and symbols throughout the poem to express his themes. It creates a rich and evocative landscape that invites readers to delve into the deepness of his reflection.


Visual Imagery: Thomas employs visual imagery to create a detailed picture of the setting. The poem describes “the shore, the rocks, and the caves,” which helps the reader imagine the coastal landscape. He uses vivid visual descriptions to convey the transition from night to dawn, such as “the night above the dingle starry” and “the sabbath hills.” The image of “the town asleep” paints a serene and quiet scene, enhancing the sense of solitude and reflection.

Auditory Imagery: Auditory imagery is prevalent in the poem as the poet describes the sounds of nature and the environment, such as “the morning beckon” and “the birds in the trees.” The “sea murmurs” and “the slow parish bells” create a gentle and soothing auditory backdrop to the poem.

Nature Imagery: Nature is a central theme in the poem, and the imagery of the sea, sky, hills, and trees connects the poet with the natural world. Thomas personifies nature as “the unripe apple on the bough,” which suggests a sense of continuity and growth.

The poem exudes a nostalgic atmosphere. It evokes memories of the poet’s past experiences and emotions. The poet says,

“my birthday began with the water-”

It mentions what could be a reference to the poet’s birthday and the significance of this day.

Emotional Imagery: As Thomas uses vivid descriptions to convey his feelings and memories, the poem is filled with emotional imagery. The poem is a reflection on his own life and mortality. The phrase “On this high hill in a year’s turning” carries emotional weight. It connects the poet’s birthday to the memory.


October: The month of October serves as a central symbol in the poem. It represents a transitional phase, where autumn is in full swing, and the natural world experiences profound changes. October symbolizes the passage of time and the inevitability of change as the poet contemplates his aging and mortality. It also embodies the theme of impermanence and the fleeting nature of life, urging readers to cherish each moment and live fully. October symbolizes the beauty of youth and the inevitability of aging and mortality.

“It was my thirtieth year to heaven
Woke to my hearing from harbour and neighbour wood
And the mussel pooled and the heron
Priested shore.”

In this quote, October is the backdrop against which the poet’s journey into adulthood and self-reflection unfolds.

Morning: The morning symbolizes a fresh start, renewal, and the beginning of the poet’s birthday. It represents awakening the poet’s consciousness to the world around him.

“And I rose
In a rainy autumn
And walked abroad in shower of all my days.”

The morning is a time of self-discovery and reflection for the poet as he contemplates the passage of time.

The Town: The town in the poem symbolizes the familiar and the known. As the speaker wanders through the town on his birthday, he revisits the places of his childhood and encounters familiar sights and sounds. However, as he moves further from the town, the landscape becomes wilder and less familiar. It symbolizes the journey into the unknown and the passage of time.

Nature as a Symbol of Transience: One of the central symbols in the poem is the natural world. Throughout the poem, the speaker vividly describes the landscape of his hometown, Swansea, in Wales. This landscape is a powerful symbol of the passage of time and the transience of life. The “sea” represents the vastness of time, while the “wood” and “hill” symbolize the enduring elements of nature that remain as witnesses to the passage of time. The changing seasons, from “spring” to “summer,” also reflect the inexorable march of time.

In “Poem in October,” Dylan Thomas skillfully uses imagery and symbols to convey the themes of time, aging, and the beauty of nature. Through his descriptive and sensory language, he invites readers to engage in the world he depicts and reflects on the passage of time and the significance of personal milestones. The poem is a masterful example of how imagery and symbolism can create a rich and emotionally affluent literary experience.