Treatment of childhood 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.


How does Dylan Thomas treat his childhood in his “Poem in October” poem?
Or, Describe the treatment of childhood in the poem “Poem in October.”

In his poem “Poem in October,” Dylan Thomas (1914-53) treats his childhood with nostalgia and reverence. The poem reflects on the poet’s childhood memories as he celebrates his thirty years of life in October. The imagery and language used in the poem evoke a vivid portrayal of his past, particularly his childhood experiences in his hometown of Swansea, Wales.

Nostalgia: Throughout the poem, Thomas reflects on his childhood with deep nostalgia. He remembers the landscape and natural surroundings of his hometown, and this nostalgia creates a wistful and reflective tone in the poem. The Poet says,

“In my childhood, in the dawn
Of a most stormy life
Was drawn
From every depth of good and ill
The mystery which binds me still.”

Celebration of Life: While the poem is centered around Thomas’s past, it also serves as a celebration of his present life. He rejoices that he has reached thirty years of age and still retains the memories and emotions associated with his childhood.

Vivid Imagery: Dylan Thomas employs rich and vivid imagery to capture the essence of childhood. He describes the “mussel pooled” shoreline and the heron, painting a picture of a serene and idyllic natural setting. The use of sensory details, such as “the smell of hay,” “blackberrying,” and “apple boughs,” produces a sense of nostalgia. It transports the reader back to the poet’s childhood experiences. This vivid imagery emphasizes the poet’s deep connection to his past.

He describes the sea, the wood, and the hills of Swansea with vivid details, capturing the essence of his past surroundings and bringing them to life for the reader. He says

“And I saw in the turning so clearly a child’s
Forgotten mornings among the tenanted hazels
And the dew wet lawn and the gold leaf sun.”

Childlike Wonder: The poem conveys a sense of childlike wonder and curiosity as the poet explores his memories. It’s as if he relives those moments with a child’s awe and fascination, seeing the world through fresh eyes.

Cycle of Life: The poem delves into the cyclical nature of life, as October, the month of the poet’s birth, also represents autumn—a time of change and transition. This connection between his birth month and the changing season adds a layer of contemplation about the passage of time and the inevitability of aging.

Connection to Nature: Thomas’s childhood memories are deeply connected to the natural world. The landscape and elements of nature play a significant role in shaping his memories and emotions, making them inseparable from his experiences.

“And walking, waking,
I saw the hearthstones of a thousand homes
Gleam warm in the October air.”

In termination, we can say that “Poem in October” is a tender and reflective work where Dylan Thomas treats his childhood with a blend of fondness, introspection, and a realization of how it has contributed to shaping the person he has become. The poem invites readers to reflect on their pasts and the significance of their early experiences in shaping their identities.