The London Welsh Centre celebrates the great Dylan Thomas.  Our supporters recite two of his poems, and special guest, Hilly Janes, talks about Swansea’s Bohemians in exile in 1930s London, joined by broadcaster Phil Williams.

Let’s raise a glass to the great man, enjoy a poem or story and embrace the escape.

Mae Canolfan Cymry Llundain yn dathlu’r athrylith Dylan Thomas. Mae ein cefnogwyr yn adrodd dwy o’i gerddi, ac mae’r gwestai arbennig, Hilly Janes, yn siarad am Swansea’s Bohemians yn alltud yn Llundain yn y 1930au, ynghyd â’r darlledwr Phil Williams.

Gadewch i ni godi gwydraid i’r llenor, mwynhau cerdd neu stori a chofleidio’r ddihangfa.

It’s been an unbelievable 12 months since the last Dylan Day, I do hope you are all well and coping as best as possible. I really wonder what Dylan would have made of it all, especially with the pubs being closed. This year’s choice of poem is ‘The force that through the green fuse drives the flower’.

It’s utterly mind-bending that a 16/17-year-old boy would be contemplating the very essence of life and being able to sum it up so beautifully. My main concern at that age was how I was ever going to get Justine to notice me at the under 18s disco! This poem really has it all, nature, joy, science, life, death, imagery, religion and a large slice of reality. As the Reverend Eli Jenkins put it, we are all “poor creatures born to die” Dylan spares no time getting to the point here and uses the beauty of a flower to tempt us in. The force that through the green fuse drives the flower, drives my green age. The force that gives the flower life is the same that will make its petals wither and die. The force that rushes the water down the river is the same that pumps blood around his young body. The use of the word fuse is key in this for me, a fuse is something you light, something that burns and once it reaches its end it’s gone forever. And usually with devastating effect. Everything in this poem is contradictory, this is when Dylan was at his best, he would always challenge himself in that way, black/white, earth/sky, life/death, human/ghost, peace/war, love/hate, youth/experience.

Here we jump back and forth questioning the force of life. The Innocence and beauty of being alive, the natural world around us, he resigns to the fact that the more it blooms the closer it comes to death, the more we grow the older we get. The fountain of youth being sucked dry by time itself. What tomorrow looks like still remains a mystery. But today we are alive, we bloom, we feel, we hear the clock tick, and we see the stars above. Rejoice that, because tomorrow never knows.

By John Cunningham