Monday, October 27, 2014

Dylan Thomas and Richard Jefferies

Dylan Thomas was born 100 years ago today. Though my own personal 1930s poet W.T. Nettlefold told me Thomas never bought his round, I am happy to celebrate his centenary with his reading of Fern Hill:

This poem reminds me of the last lines of Wood Magic by Richard Jefferies:
Bevis gathered the harebell, and ran with the flower in his hand down the hill, and as he ran the wild thyme kissed his feet and said: "Come again, Bevis, come again". At the bottom of the hill the waggon was loaded now; so they lifted him up, and he rode home on the broad back of the leader.
And it that sounds twee, don't be deceived. Wood Magic - the most underrated of Jefferies' books - is anything but. The natural world the young Bevis discovers is a thoroughly Darwinian one.

Jefferies does not use nature to point lessons for human politics: rather he uses the ruthlessness of that politics as a metaphor to help us understand nature.

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