Discuss the symbols in the poem “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.


Discuss the symbols in the poem “Poem in October.”

Poem in October” is celebrated by the renowned Welsh poet Dylan Thomas (1914-53). Composed in 1944, the poem reflects on the poet’s thirtieth birthday and the beauty of the natural world during October. Through vivid imagery and lyrical language, Thomas employs various symbols to convey profound themes of time, mortality, and the significance of embracing life’s fleeting moments.

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.

Birthday: The poet’s thirtieth birthday symbolizes his transition from youth to adulthood, representing the threshold between two significant phases of life. This milestone prompts him to reflect on his past experiences and contemplate the uncertainties of the future. The birthday symbolizes the cyclical nature of time, as each year, one faces similar reflections and reckonings.

Wood: The wood symbolizes the untamed and wild aspects of nature. It’s a place where the poet can escape from the confines of daily life and connect with the primordial elements. The wood is a metaphor for the subconscious mind, offering the poet a space of introspection and self-discovery. It embodies embracing the untamed aspects of oneself and the world around us.

Priested Shore: This phrase symbolizes nature’s sacredness and spiritual significance, suggesting that the natural world is a place of worship and reverence for the poet.

“And the mussel pooled and the heron
Priested shore.”

The image of the heron and the shore as a priestly place implies a spiritual connection between the poet and the natural world.

Birds: The birds in the poem symbolize freedom and liberation. They are depicted as free-spirited creatures, soaring above the world and untouched by the concerns of human existence. The birds serve as a reminder of the beauty and simplicity of life when one is attuned to nature and unburdened by the complexities of modern living.

Time: Time is a pervasive symbol in the poem, interwoven with the changing seasons and the poet’s reflections on aging. The passing of time reminds the reader of life’s transitory nature, urging them to seize the present moment and embrace the beauty of existence.

“Poem in October” is rich with symbolic elements that deepen the poem’s themes of time, memory, and the profound relationship between the human experience and the natural world. Through these symbols, Dylan Thomas weaves a remarkable exploration of life’s transience and the power of memory to shape our perception of time.