Poetry seems to be in the air at present and although Dylan Thomas’s ‘Under Milk Wood‘ is a play he wrote for radio I always think of it as poetry –‘Words were his music.’
The play was about an imaginary village – Llareggub - which is Bugger all spelt backwards. Quite a long time ago a group of us – led by an exciting young Welshman - did a number of performances of UMW and we all came to love the rich earthy characters and found more and more meanings as we learnt his wondrous words.
I was thrilled to find it on You tube read both by Dylan himself and Richard Burton. I’ve chosen the latter although Dylan has a strange sonorous voice well suited to his poetry. He died aged 39 – an alcoholic - having just had a sustained bout of American hospitality and experienced a vicious smog which attacked his lungs.
He had a talented wife - Caitlin - and like Scott Fitsgerald and Zelda, together they were a doomed couple.
He was a tragic/ comic figure and I remember him reading ‘Ode to Shaint Sheshilia’
(Ode to Saint Cecilia) on the radio when he was drunk as a skunk. Other gems were ‘Fern Hill' and ‘Do not go gently into that good night.’ - a poem he wrote as his father was dying.
If this recording leaves you wanting more there are Parts two and three. If the recording doesn’t work for you the URL is: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uuPO2Kvqlms