On Dylan’s trail

We are now in Swansea, home of Wales poet Dylan Thomas. He called this city an “ugly lovely town,” and that was before it suffered a great deal of German bombing during the war. The modern bits speak to a lack of city planning, but some interesting nooks and crannies still remain.

It was complete news to us that we have Jimmy Carter to thank for the ongoing focus on Dylan Thomas, and the acknowledgements of his presence here in Swansea. Evidently President Carter’s intervention during his 1977 UK trip calling for Dylan Thomas to be recognized at Poets’ Corner in Westminster Abbey resulted in a memorial plaque, and a flurry of activity in Swansea around his life here. Jimmy was a major fan and Swansea was evidently somewhat embarrassed that they didn’t have much to show him. He lent his support to the renewed focus on this famous son, and came back to dedicate the official center.

Good for you, Jimmy. Makes you think about the butterfly effect of the works of a poet in Wales reaching a young boy in Plains, Georgia.

Dylan Thomas’s life is a sad one, of course, as it ended when he was 39 and had much to do with alcohol. But his poetry and other works live on and still impress with their power. “Love the words!” he told the first cast of Under Milk Wood, and his words remain as his legacy.

We had hoped to see his childhood home, 5 Cwmdonkind Drive in the Uplands neighborhood, but arrived to find it occupied by a private party. Great view from there. Wish we could have seen it, but tomorrow we will see his last home in Wales, the Boat House at Laugharne.


11 thoughts on “On Dylan’s trail

  1. Can’t help but wonder if you’ve rolled “down towards the two-tongued sea” or seen a “headlong moon bundling down the sky” or can imagine, this being the wrong season, what it’s like “at the rim of the ice-edged, fish-freezing waves” ….

    1. I knew you’d be a fan. The closest we got was the view from his childhood home, but tomorrow we’ll at least be on the sea. Can only imagine this place in the winter. It would certainly lead one to drink, which seems to be the main entertainment here.

      1. When you’re back, we’ll have meet at the White Horse (if it still exists) and ponder the question of how much of that “place in winter” is part of the Welsh genes….. I have a personal interest.

        1. It’s alive and open. Will try to gather some more shallow insights into the Welsh character before we return, but we have a date.

  2. At least you’ve seen that beautiful Swansea Bay at its finest in the sunshine (as good as the Bay of Naples, some locals say). In the winter, after days of heavy rain, the whole place feels like it’s dripping in melancholy. That’s all part of the genes, for sure. (A shallow observation to add to your shallow insights into our collective character.) Enjoy Llareggub spotting tomorrow.

  3. You are very close to the market town of Carmarthen where I grew up and went to pre-school. We are making our own pilgrimage back there in December. Can we join you yat the White Horse?

    1. Ha! We will be in Carmarthen today on our way to Laugharne, so will pay your respects. Re the White Horse, serious drinking will be required – warn Sheila.

  4. Back sometime in the early 60’s I saw a play on Broadway, NYC called “Dylan” staring Alec Guinness as Dylan. Guinness was wonderful. The play was wonderful.

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