The Importance of Time in Fern Hill by Dylan Thomas
“Now I was young and easy under the apple boughs.” (1). In the poem Fern Hill, the poet tries to express the way he felt as a child, laying happily under the trees on a starry night. And by the way he speaks, he seems to do on more than one occasion. Thomas uses colours to illustrate moments in time and to emphasis certain lines to give them more meaning. There is also a strong sense of time displayed in many parts of the poem, time that is both of him as a child and as an adult.
The poet uses the presence of time as a connection to his childhood in many ways, such as when the poet says, “Time let me play and be.” (13). Twice in this poem, the phrase “Time let me” appears, and each time the poet gives a different thing that time allowed him to do, to “hail and climb,” (4) and to “play and be.” (13). Although a major theme in this poem is youth and childhood, there is a fair amount about time passing and growing older displayed, which is illustrated when Thomas writes in the second stanza, “In the sun that is only young once,” (12). This line is the first time we see that youth is not ever lasting and that getting older in inevitable. Another way we are told about the inevitability of getting older, is the presence of past tense verbs such as were and was, which Thomas has placed throughout the poem. A few examples of his past tense verb placings are, “[…] singing as the farm was home,” (11) which is something that indicates that the farm is no longer home to him, and in the end of the second stanza Thomas writes, “And green and gold I was huntsman and herdsman,” (15).
Colour is used in this poem to express different emotions and stages in a person’s life. This symbolism is shown when the poet says, “And as I was green and carefree,” (10). When the poet uses the colour green, it is him making a reference to his childhood. However, at the end of the poem, Thomas uses the colour in a complete different way. He writes, “Time held me green and dying,” (53), and in this case Thomas uses it as a way to tell us how he feels now, looking back on his childhood. The poet also uses gold, or as Thomas puts it, golden, when he does so, he is referring to the height of his youth; which Thomas dramatizes when he writes, “Golden in the heyday of his eyes,” (5), meaning at that point, the poet was the happiest that he could be at that time. In the last stanza Thomas writes, “[…] in the lamb white days,” (46). The significance of “the lamb” is that it is something pure and innocent, which is also what the colour white represents.
Time is one of the most important themes in this poem, because the poem is about time passing and days going by. By the end of the poem, the way time is presented has changed drastically, the poet isn’t speaking as though life is light or happy anymore, and he is speaking as if time is now the enemy, “[…] time would take me” (46), “Up to the swallow thronged loft by the shadow of my hand.” (47). This is a darker tone to the poem, considering that before we heard things like, “And the sun grew round that very day,” (32), and nearer the end, in the last stanza, the poet recites, “In the moon that is always rising,” (48). The poet went from talking about how the sun would rise day in and day out, to speaking of the moon staying high in the sky.
After reading this poem, one of the first questions that came to be was, who won? Was is the poet? Who talked of his glorious adventures as a child that made him happy. Or was it time? Which in the end, managed to take the last thing that the poet had left, his life. It could be debated that time was the winner in the feud, because after all, dying is times ultimate last move. But if you really think and analyse the last three lines in the poem, it will tell you that even though he is dying, he is still singing, “Though I sang in the chains like the sea,” (54). Is he really dead if fifty years after he has passed, people are still sitting and reading this poem?
How Fern Hill by Dylan Thomas Romanticised Childhood Innocence
Romanticizing “Fern Hill”
“Fern Hill” by Dylan Thomas is a poem that celebrate the whimsy of childhood. The poem revolves around the focus of how impactful time is in a person’s life, through the eyes of a young boy (Korg). The boy serves an archetype to the protagonist wandering through life curious about its paradox. Thomas uses sensual imagery to assist in his contemplation through intellectual understanding (Korg). The main character’s young age balances out the pensiveness of the subject, aiding in the reader’s ability to understand Thomas’ perspective. This poem is mostly popular for the simple means of romanticism Thomas uses in his poems in order to apply sentiment (Korg). This healthy collaboration of literary components involve the use of senses to illustrate the common idea of understanding the internal conflict of aging in a word that remains the same. This poem is special because the details depicted serve as an embellishment to the simplicity of nature and common coming-of-age realizations in the changing of time. In “Fern Hill,” Dylan Thomas uses the literary element of imagery to romanticize childhood innocence.
The setting of the poem makes the biggest impact on reaching out to the reader’s understanding of what makes this boy’s experience one unlike any other. Such a sensation can most commonly be portrayed through the wonders of nature. Such locations as “the heydays of his eyes” and “windfall light” are little more than exuberant, almost jocular, word plays without sustained emphasis (Korg). They serve as hints to the visible feeling provided towards the beauty of the scenery the boy is experiencing. Though Thomas takes his cue from the Celtic pre-Christian sense of divinity in nature, he aligns it with the Christian imagery of modern Wales (Bittenbender). Wales is a beautiful city in Eastern Ireland which most likely assisted in motivation towards the type of scenery being illustrated in the poem. The boy lives in the moment of the carefree reality of his environment, exploring his infinite imagination upheld by age (Thomas). As a child, there are no limits to what the world around you could potentially be; hence the importance of living in the present of being young and making memories for the story of your life.
As Thomas got older, he began to look back at his life, evidently in his work (Bittenbender). The poem serves as a form of reminiscing on the viewpoint of nature through the perspective of a boy, considering the change in perspective that comes along with age (Bittenbender). Most importantly, the poem is not written from the boy’s perspective of nature, but from an adult’s perspective of what it was like to experience nature from the eyes of a boy. This makes all the difference in the sentiment involved in the innocence of the time before the strive for maturity and rite of passage was pursued by Thomas. The poem mainly strikes as a sentimental piece to those who cherish their youthful past. The author seems ambivalent about the contribution between effort and inevitability in the concept of time (Bittenbender). It is very difficult for anyone to understand what the right thing to do is when faced with life’s conundrums that judge you as a person, and Dylan Thomas elaborated on this in the boy’s representation of the common conflict. The poem also made an impact in his reality when it came to making memories of the worry-free times of his life. “Fern Hill” was written in memory of his aunt and the time he spent with her, showing the drive he had towards focussing on love and connections with positive things in life (Norris). This clearly indicates his passion towards his family as a child and his understanding of how time changes the relationships people have and the fragility they face as times moves on. Although the poem celebrates the lush beauty of a boy’s farm home and his total harmony with that environment, several lines warn of imminent change. In the midst of his joy, the boy is both green and dying (Albert). Such understanding is referenced in the conclusion of the poem:
“I should hear him fly with the high fields
And wake to the farm forever fled from the childless land.
Oh as I was young and easy in the mercy of his means,
Time held me green and dying
Though I sang in my chains like the sea.” (50-54)
From a broad perspective in poetry, “Fern Hill” is sensational due to its exceptional use of many devices in literature, especially in the form of imagery. It is an effective use of surrounding descriptions, and the connection between peace and paranoia in the changes of life when observing the environment’s apathy towards human troubles. Therefore, it is important that people remain strong in life’s changes and to not be whisked away in its forceful winds if they are to survive. The literary finesse that was put into making the poem so remarkable is another one of the outstanding features of the story that helped attract readers. Thomas made a huge impact on the world of the boy through his innovative writing technique that he carefully constructed (Cox). The free verse of each line holds imagery that even those unfamiliar with such a setting can feel and see with the words used and can relate them to their individual lives somehow. Dylan Thomas was very careful with each poem that he wrote to properly relay what he was feeling in his work, ultimately only making annual poems (Korg). This proves that his work was carefully crafted for the flow of each stanza to impact people in a particular fashion meant to be romantic and sentimental for the demographic at hand, which would be adults who look back on their childhood.
This poem was able to catalyze a new angle for artists to create their work on, as well as presenting the angle as a means for viewers to have the ability to channel such a reminiscing emotion towards. Thomas’ work on “Fern Hill” encourages the influence of embracing imagination in later poets (Albert). This poem was written in the 1940s and assisted in paving the way to continue romanticizing the beauty of the past for many other poets. Thomas’ romanticism was so rudimentary in terms of literary practicality that it drove people towards the subject of realism (Bradley). Romanticism and realism contrasted each other and classified people in terms of understanding the world. The boy’s experience was reasonable structural in order to sculpt the idea. The realist perspective of the story would be the blunt reality that the boy is at a farm and will, one day, not be a boy anymore. This leaves no room for sentiment, nor emotional connection for the reader, except in terms of accepting the verisimilitude of this happening in life. Thomas chose to romanticize it because it was more of a time to cherish than to belittle as a moment in time, for each moment is precious and at some point should be admired for happening. Before the responsibility of conforming to a system that loops people into an endless cycle of working for one big unknown cause, everyone has a innate imagination that gives people their own reality to live by. However, there is a moment where a person must chose to be alone on their journey to their dream or to deflect it for the idea of someone more empowered. “Fern Hill” depicts this idea with its incentive to embrace childlike dreaming in a normal world and initializing contemplation of personal potential in society through his literature.
Fern Hill by Dylan Thomas. Poetry Analysis
Chris Suarez The Golden Days
Fern Hill is a poem that celebrates living and youth. When describing a farm in Wales, The speaker (Dylan Thomas) focuses mostly on the nature and its elements. The nature symbolizes his playfulness, careless, and naivety; its surrounding enables him to enjoy and play, which is the most important factor of his life when he is younger. Fern Hill is the sheer joy that rings through every work. Thomas glories in life, in the wonder and beauty and mystery of each living day. Fern Hill is like a mirror into Thomas mind. He is looking back in time, analyzing last couple of years in his life. Nothing really mattered before, when he was younger, but as he becomes aware of his aging process, he feels those golden days have passed him by too fast, and he might have not fulfilled them with much responsibility.
Now as I was young and easy (1) leads into the fact that at this point of his life, Thomas was extremely happy, having no doubts about his actions and the world around him. By turning a clich into nicer sounds and happy as the grass was green (2), Thomas refreshes the readers mind, and has them think from different perspectives. He was prince of the apple towns (6) a metaphor for The King of the castle in this case Thomas does not think about the King as an owner and master, but more as a about a person having the most blast and confidence.
In the second stanza, Thomas tone changes from enjoyable and relaxed into more urgent, demanding, and kind of rushing; he craves enjoyment for every moment of his life. He wants time to stop, Time let me play and be (13), and let him live; a saying Time does not wait for anyone; do not put off for tomorrow what you can do today. Is applied and changed into In the sun that is young once only (12). The repetition of words green and golden is noticeable throughout the whole poem. The connotation of green is youth and freshness. For example green horn is a simile for inexperienced. The connotation of golden is a stage of life, where in this case, as person is a little older, but feels still fresh, and energetic. Such a person does not bother with recognizing the aging process. We can understand the meaning of golden days as good old days. In both (10) and (14), the symbolic meaning of green and golden is applied; these express the necessary availability of more time to play, and exist.
Third stanza, Thomas is in a happy mood. He feels positive, and full of energy, because all the sun long it was running, it was lovely (19), meaning all day ling everything was fine lovely, perfect. In the nature, sun is the most important and basic element. It grows the plats, it brings warmth for the animals, and it gives a birth to everyday, when it rises. Sun is a symbol of life, energy, and power. Sun is related to fire as water is to ice. And fire green as grass (22) is a paradox. The green appearance of fire is a contradiction that is nevertheless true. The fire appears green because first, it is probably big, strong and persistent; therefore, it can be considered young; secondly, the fire contents is mostly grass and gives the flame a green appearance. Field high as the house, the tunes from chimneys, (20) Thomas symbolizes the high fields as home and family. It is a happy family, where all the members like to sing, as we can hear their tunes coming out from the chimney.
All the moon long I heard, blessed among stables, the nightjar flying with the ricks (26). Thomas not only observes the farm s day life, but night interests him no less. Hiding among the stables, all night long, he watches the farm being extremely alive. All the animals are active at night. The owls are noisy bearing the farm away (24) Nightjars flying, and the horses sweating so hard that the reflection of their skin can be seen flashing into the dark (27). The ending of this stanza is written in an unconscious state. Thomas may be half asleep in visioning the night activity of his home. In both (24 and 25) animals are personified as his family members. The owls are seen as the parents overseeing and protecting the children, the Nightjars. After a long night, Thomas awakening is represented by the cock on his shoulder (29). The bird (cock) is used to symbolize the new day. The new day was born in complete pureness and perfection. It was all shining, it was Adam and maiden (30). Maiden is used as a metaphor for innocents and purity.
In the 5th stanza, Thomas is apparently adopting his virtues; he has bad conscious for being selfish and having fun as his priority I ran my heedless way, and nothing I cared, I my sky blue traits, that time allows in all his tuneful turning so few and such morning songs (40, 42, 43); at this point he feels time is non-compromising and he wishes he took advantage of it.
Youthful Nostalgia in Dylan Thomas’s Fern Hill
Thomass Youthful Nostalgia in Fern Hill In Fern Hill Dylan Thomas deals with the age-old dilemma of growing up.
Thomass youthful, carefree outlook is expressed through his description of the farm where he spent his youth. The poet uses nine six-line stanzas to illustrate the naivet he experienced when he was a boy. Thomas, now a grown man, can tell his readers in retrospect about his youthful ignorance regarding the process of time. In the first stanza the reader is introduced to life through young Thomass eyes.
He uses personification to describe the house as lilting (2). As the boy frolics through the yard, it seems to him that the house is springing and moving. This introduces the boys acceptance of his own interpretation of life. His mind is untainted by the outside world. He goes on to use assonance to ask time to let him hail and climb (4). He wishes time to let him stay the way he is. Thomas uses the words honored, prince and lordly to describe his feeling of faith and hope in his own potential greatness (6-7).
In Stanza two, we first see the word green that is repeated many times in this poem. This word is used as a metaphor for youthfulness. Thomas uses assonance to open the second stanza with the words green and carefree (10). Time is personified when Thomas asks it to let him remain young and naive, even though the sun is young once only (12). Thomas chooses to remain ignorant to the workings of time and the immortality of the world. The word green is repeated along with the word golden, both words stressing his youthfulness (15). Thomas uses alliteration to express his ability to be anything he wants whether it be a huntsman or herdsman (15). Stanza three describes nightfall on the farm. Again, the word green is used in line twenty-three to reiterate a carefree, simple ideal. Thomas uses the hay stacks as a metaphor for the boys youthful hope. The hay fields high as the house describes the boys optimism. Thomass description of the stars as being simple mirrors the poets ignorance of the world. Thomas is unaware of the tremendous complexity of the stars, not being able to grasp the immensity of the sky just as he is ignorant to the complexity of the world and of the process of time. In Stanza four, Thomas describes the morning on the farm as being a rebirth and a new beginning for everything. His describes this rebirth with alliterations choosing the words wandering white with the dew to continue with is theme of color to describe youth. Thomas compares the morning on the farm to the beginning of the world as written in the Bible in Genesis.
Stanza five emphasizes the poets ignorance. He does not understand that his life is finite. He believes he will be born again every morning along with the sun. The hay stack metaphor is repeated to stress his naive outlook. Stanza six repeats his carefree attitude towards his own immortality. He cares so little about it that he does not take the time to understand it. As a grown man, Thomas can now see that all the while, time had been working its way even though he was oblivious to it. Everyday he was brought further and further to his death even though he was living a life of carelessness, ignorance and bliss. He knows now that his time as a boy was limited, and the time can never be regained.
Although a natural reaction to the authors retrospection would be regret for not knowing that he had only a limited time to enjoy himself, the poet does not express a feeling of regret. Although nostalgia is prevalent, the author does not seem to want to change anything about the way he lived his youth. Thomas seems to be glad that he did not understand that his youth was limited because it would had tainted his happiness.
Although the readers childhood experience may not have been spent on a farm, familiar metaphors of nature make it possible for readers of all backgrounds to relate to the theme of this poem. Thomas successfully instills a sense of appreciation for the time spent in youth, and a feeling of nostalgia for the days of youthful bliss lost in the process of time.
Dylan Thomas’s Poem Fern Hill: Young Man’s Struggle in Accepting Aging and Death
Fern Hill: Dylan Thomas walk down Memory Lane
Dylan Thomas Fern Hill can be interpreted as mans biggest desire to be a child once again. In Fern Hill, the writer talks about the glorious days of his youth and also his struggles with accepting old age and death. In this poem, the writer takes the reader along on a detailed exploration of his childhood memories. The struggle to accept and respect times rhythms and cycles, turns and limits, can affect everyone, as indicated by this poem. Thomas explains the bitter feelings of reality finally hitting you and causing you to realize that the carefree childhood must end through time and age. The writer realizes that his childhood is gone, and that he can only look forward to growing old and dying now. Feeling the loss of his precious childhood, he uses countless detailed examples to urge the readers to take into consideration the importance, and the true joy and happiness, of childhood. The readers are asked to cherish their childhood memories with the help of many literary techniques cleverly used in this poem, such as the usage of symbolism and imagery. The readers are able to feel his happiness throughout the journey through his memories. Readers also feel his struggle to understand why time can decide the length of his life.
The first aspect of the poem to be talked about is the beautiful characteristics of childhood, as revealed by Thomas in his memories of childhood. As the poem begins, the readers see an aging man who is, possibly, turning bald. The writer shares with the readers the vision he sees in his mind of himself as a young boy on his familys farm. The writer, as a young boy, was green and carefree, famous among the barns (10) and had the trees and leaves/ trail with daisies and barley/ down the rivers of the windfall light (7-9). The readers see what he is thinking about, as if they were looking at the same picture book. They feel what he is feeling, as if they were real to both them and the writer. All their senses are motioned into the pleasures of this joyful time in the boys life.
The readers hear the sounds of the singing of the calves and the clear, cold barking of the foxes, as the writer plays his horn in his memories. The readers ense the lovely calmness of the Sabbath days that seemed to ring slowly in the pebbles of the holy streams (18). They are encouraged to visualize the hay fields high as the house (19-20); they hear the tunes from the chimneys (20). On hearing the writer describe his bedtime memories, the readers are swept away into their own memories of bedtime. The writers tells about owls bearing the farm away (24). An image of peaceful nights is brought forth with the nightjars/ flying with the ricks, and the horses/ flashing into the dark (25-28). A sense of harmony and admiration is called to the readers minds as the writer recalls awaking each morning to the sight of the farm. Each morning as he wakes up, the farm is white with the dew (29), the roosters are crowing and the horses are whinnying as they walk out of the stables onto the fields in the warm sun. Every new day was a new beginning for the young writer. In the sun that is young once only,/ Time let me play and be (12-13). By looking at memories of his carefree days of youth, readers know that his childhood was happy and complete. As he is recalling his younger days, he realizes that, as a child, he had no concept of time.
The writer stops describing the awe-inspiring days of his youth and brings the readers back to present reality. He suggests that he is now aged and is not only reminiscing, but is very concerned with the whole issue of aging and death.
Nothing I cared, in the lamb white days, that time would take me
Up to the swallow thronged loft by the shadow of my hand
In the moon that is always rising
Nor that riding to sleep
I should hear him fly with the high fields
And wake to the farm forever fled from the childless land. (46-51)
Although the writers vulnerability in his reflection of lifes rhythms is revealed in this poem, his final understanding of life is shown. As a boy, he believed that he would always be young and ran [his] heedless ways (40). The writer now knows that the reality of life is that life is all too short, especially the brief days of youth, and that is the only way he must accept it. The last three lines of the poem bring us to the distressing reality of the joys and sadness of life. Oh as I was young and easy in the mercy of his means, time held me green and dying though I sand in my chains like the sea (52-54). The writer explains that all good things for all people must come to an end, and when they do, everyone will look back on the times that they had and wish that it could be that way forever.
Dylan Thomas cleverly uses a series of effective literary techniques, and also, a beautiful flow of the stanzas, in describing the many memories of the childhood. Long lines of free verse are used to enhance the writers recollection of carefree, joyful youth, as well as the writers suggestion of an open-minded acceptance of the rhythms of time. Like a song, each stanza has nine lines, a similar meter, and repeated phrases. The second stanza is a mirrored reflection of the first stanza, having the similar phrases and words. The use of the phrases time let me and golden in the is seen again in the parallel lines of the second stanza. The opening of the poem, as I was young and easy, is also repeated in the last stanza, showing the writers thoughts to come to a conclusion, where he makes his final comment about accepting times natural rhythms.
Besides the lyrical style of Thomas being beautiful, the imagery in this poem is also very beautifully used. Thomas uses numerous images to describe the farm and his feelings, and many are often repeated in the poem. Words such as lordly, honored, prince, huntsmen and herdsmen are used to describe his feelings of superiority on the farm. Images like prince of appletowns, famous among the barns, honored among wagons and foxes and peasants give the readers a taste of the joyful and carefree games of childhood.
The use of symbolism is evident in Fern Hill. Light is a major theme in this poem. There are many times, in this poem, where Thomas uses the suns light as a sign of the freshness of life. All the sun long it was running, it was lovely, the hay/ Fields high as the house, the tunes from the chimneys, it was air/ and playing, lovely and watery/ and fire green as grass (19-22). In the writers immature eyes, he saw daylight as a sign of the beginning of a new day just waiting to be explored. And then to awake
The sky gathered again/ and the sun grew round that very day./ So it must have been after the birth of the simple light (28-33). To the writer, light is a necessity of life. In contrast, night, compared to light, takes a different meaning in the poem. Night is used to symbolize death, or the death of another day.
An example showing the beauty of childhood is represented as memories of the writers childhood are spilled out to the readers. The writer recalls his carefree boyhood, as each line is full of memories. As a child, each day was a new adventure, and the writer did not understand that as each day came by, he had less and less time to live. There is a sense of joy at the beginning of this poem; the writer is singing and playing on this farm of many treasures. Yet, amidst this enjoyable memory is a sense of sadness as we realize youth, and all its joy that comes with it, does not last forever. The writer realizes he can never be a child again, and so, as an adult, he finally realizes the value and importance of childhood and all its joys and happiness. The writer knows that time decides when his death is and that the only thing he can do now is to sit back and wait. This poem helps readers to recognize the struggle to accept life as it is along with its boundaries and limits, and time cycles and rhythms, and to appreciate the joys and sadness of life. After exploring the writers memories with him in this poem, readers learn, through their own memories, to cherish the joys. Readers also acknowledge the sadness of it not being there anymore. So, by knowing both, readers are taught the importance of each and every day of their lives.