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Biplob Prodhan
  • 2 months ago
  • 86
Write a critical evaluation of “Poem in October”.
Ans. “Poem in October”, written in 1944, is one of the finest lyrics of Dylan Thomas. It is a birthday poem, published in the volume of poems entitled Deaths and Entrance, 1946. The poet describes his birth anniversary as his “thirtieth year to heaven”. meaning thereby that he has made one more forward step in his march towards heaven, i.e. Death. There is a mixed feeling of pleasure and pain.

The poem, in fact, is an attempt to recollect the glorious vision and innocence of childhood and thereby find an escape from the harsh realities of life. The theme has been presented by evocative statements with imagery, symbols, similes, metaphors, paradoxes, allusions, puns, etc. It is a poem in free verse. It is composed of seven structurally identical stanzas, each with ten lines. The stanzas are well connected by a lovely patterns of gentle wavy rhythm up to its end. Then arrangement of each stanza in long and short lines is also significant. The movement of the lines from long to short and from short to long, and again to the short, followed by long lines implies the oscillating movement of the poet’s mind between “weathers” and “times” and between the town below and up the hill. The metre used for the poem is as light and easy in its movement as its theme. It is Thomas’s coming to light from darkness, and this coming out or movement is lovely, slow and lyrical.

As for technical devices, the poem is rich in imagery and symbolism. In fact, the images become symbols carrying deep thoughts and states of the poet’s mind. For example, the image “heron Priested shore” assumes a symbolic meaning. To the poet “the heron” is a symbol of sacredness and it is regarded as a priest sitting on the seashore. It also expresses religious sentiment of Thomas.

Similarly the waves of the ocean rising high seem to the poet a kind of prayer to heaven on the occasion to his birthday. Thus there are various types of symbols scattered all through the poem.

“Poem in October” is actually a poem about the making of poetry out of youth. The poet highlights his present condition through the initial metaphors of location and then moves to a consciousness of the past in terms of this present. In the contrast between these two periods there is an inherent awareness that the art of poetry is the means for apprehending this past and making it meaningful. Youth, by itself, has no poetic existence. The mature poet who has paradoxically, lost the very youth he longs to capture, gives to that existence. In this process he comes to understand the mature “caring” that, separating him from the child, makes it possible for the “mystery” to sing and also to be alive. In his youth he heard the “parables” that form the basis of his mature religion. This upbringing was inferential and it was proved by the fact that the poem about it end with prayer. In his youth the poet also experienced delights as expressed by his mature poetry. The form and ordered structure of

“Poem in October” shows his mature artistic skill and creativity. To conclude, “Poem in October” is one of Dylan Thomas’s most successful poems.

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Biplob Prodhan
Biplob Prodhan Founder & Director EDNOUB Foundation Ednoub Private Program

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