Dylan Thomas: Sad Singer of Sad Songs
By Francis J. Kelly
Today I’ll tell my feelings here
About a book I lately read--
The troubled life of one who spread
The poetry of death and fear.
A boozy, druggéd life he led.
A man with so much promise--
At thirty nine they found him dead.
The Welshman Dylan Thomas.
In Wales he lived his hurried life,
And Caitlin was his bloozy wife.
They lived in poverty and strife
Without true love, with sorrow rife.
The scribe of his biography's
A fellow son of Wales.
His name is Ferris and his fees
Result in many tales.
The father of our poet--worse!--
Was middle class-a teacher there--
Who taught his son to read and curse
And, for his wife, seemed not to care.
Irascible, he proved to be,
When bothered by his family.
Although he taught in middle school,
The words he used seemed often cruel.
His son, a love for English, had
And always wished to please his dad.
His greatest poem, though very sad,
Inspires us when we're feeling bad.
So Do not go gentle into that last good night
Concerned the death of patriarch,
Whose rage at life would often spark
An argument or verbal fight.
From Dylan’s pen we got Fern Hill
And Under Milk Wood’s laughing tales.
His booming words, on record, still
Relive A Child’s Christmas in Wales.
But drink and dope did do him in.
So whilst on tour of college schools.
His collapse came direct from sin
Then came his death-- like any fool's.
'T is sad the outcome of his life
Of trying all his words to blend
Led to abortion, with his wife,
Of their two babes before his end.
And know the moral of his life
Is that drink and lies and lust
And two abortions with his wife
Brought Dylan down into the dust!
A drinking bout made him morose.
His doctor gave an overdose
Of morphine to provide repose.
Instead it made him comatose.
As Dylan fell, not scientient,
And to the hospital was sent,
T' was to a Catholic one he went
Since he was close to indigent
And In New York at St. Vincent
Did expire without a cent.
His wife, left money-less in Wales,
When told of his collapse,
Did dance and drink--and not just ales
With all her dearest chaps.
Drunk and in disorder
She flew in 'cross the border.
Arriving from her flight
To bellow and to fight.
And break a crucifix.
And so, to stop her tricks,
Was wrapped in a strait-jacket
And locked up 'til he packed it.
With shouts she would abuse
The staff and break statues.
The cops had need to use
A straitjacket to rein in
The violence of Caitlin.
With wife destroying statues
One has imagination
That Dylan had got gratis
A ticket to salvation.
If priest or nun on rounds
Had heard those awful sounds,
It would have been their function
To arrange Extreme Unction--
For Dylan whose compunction
His poetry was stressing.
He’d then gain heaven’s blessing
Like Baudelaire --confessing.
In spite of his transgressions,
Young Dylan had professions
Of search for God and peace.
Did Christ grant him release?
So at the death of Dylan
So far from home and children,
Estranged from his Caitlin,
We see the grace of heaven
To free his soul and body
From slavery --most bawdy--
From lusts and feelings naughty,
And all he deemed so tawdry.
The glamour of this poet
Whose life was spent to show it
Should teach us all the price.
There is no source of treasure
Or peace beyond all measure
Outside the love of Christ.
In Dylan's death, his crimes seemed paid.
But still we feel there may be more...
Perhaps his love for father gave
Him light to reach to heaven’s shore...
So thank Professor Ferris now
For this good book to cherish now.
Of him with such a lot of promise--
The Welshman, poet, Dylan Thomas.
I hope some more who need
Will find this book and read
And this good story--heed.
For if they, vice, should feed
It will their strength exceed
And in them devils breed,
Who will remove their creed
And cause their hearts to bleed
Until they find Christ's lead
By which they can be freed.