Haiku Inspired by Dylan Thomas II

On the 61st anniversary of the poet’s death…

 Dylan Thomas (1914-1953) was a storied drinker. He was one of a long line of great writers who, on any given evening (or day, for that matter!), could be found in the “poet’s corner” of a neighborhood pub agonizing over word choice, or perhaps listening to the local gossip (that is, harvesting material).

So, in 1953 when Thomas went to New York and died suddenly at the age of 39, alcohol was the obvious culprit. Later physicians determined that pneumonia, not over drinking, was the cause of the poet’s untimely demise.

In my mind, Dylan Thomas is the Beat poet who never was. He was a part of the Greenwich Village poetry (and drinking) scene right around the time people like Allen Ginsberg exploded on the scene (who was in San Francisco at the time of Thomas’s death). Ginsberg’s legendary reading of “Howl” would take place just a few years after Thomas’ passing. Certainly other legendary Beats were already occupying The Village while Thomas was there (this was his 4th trip to the States, so presumably he had already forged ties with those whom he found himself with during those last weeks).

And then, the obvious connection with the Beats and The Village—Bob Dylan. It was in 1961, eight years after Thomas’ death, that Bob Dylan arrived on the Greenwich Village scene. Bob Dylan inherited a spirit of writing and composing in the Village that was planted by people like Dylan Thomas and subsequent Beats. Whether or not Bob Dylan really took his name from Dylan Thomas–who really knows. Certainly “borrowing” (and then re-telling) is a part of the writing tradition. I for one would think it would be pretty cool if it were true. And for a young Bob Dylan new to The Village, taking the name of a then relatively uncelebrated, unknown Welsh poet who “died from over drinking while just passing through” would seem harmless enough–so harmless perhaps no one would notice.

(the following are inpsired by “A Refusal to Mourn the Death, by Fire, of of a Child in London”1)

Bird beast and flower

preparing for their slumber.

The sun sets earlier.

(at an Akita coffee shop, 2014.11.9)


Enter again the

cold drafts blowing through my room.

Winter’s insistence.

(at an Akita coffee shop, 2014.11.9)


In silence the last

persimmon falls to the earth.

From fall comes winter.

(at an Akita coffee shop, 2014.11.9)


On my lips and tongue

the sweet taste of persimmon.

an autumn evening.

(at an Akita coffee shop, 2014.11.9)


The last leaf hanging

from a once lovely maple.

Beauty fades with youth.

(at an Akita coffee shop, 2014.11.9)


The last light breaking

over the cold churning sea.

First day of winter.

(at an Akita coffee shop, 2014.11.9)


Winter soon to come–

the the crum’ling decaying leaves

tell me with silence.

(at an Akita coffee shop, 2014.11.9)


With silence the last

branch is left bare of spring’s leaves.

November’s cold wind.

(at an Akita coffee shop, 2014.11.9)

1A poem “stolen from the headlines.” Sound familiar?!


2 thoughts on “Haiku Inspired by Dylan Thomas II

  1. last leaf hanging… is my favourite mr bento. very nice. i think i broke the rules with my addition below, but i am a bit of a rule breaker. thanks for the dylan thomas notification.

    London is calling
    Children feeding the fires
    Winter’s wind exhales

  2. Nice–Was that “London Calling” random?! (http://gizmodo.com/you-didnt-really-need-an-excuse-to-relisten-to-london-c-1667781344)

    I wasn’t familiar with that Thomas poem, “A Refusal to Mourn the Death, by Fire, of a Child in London,” until just this autumn. In the 1st stanza he says, “last light breaking.” I like that alliteration, which you’ve recreated with “Winter’s Wind!” And, I was reading it around dusk, which made it resonate more. Here’s the whole stanza:

    Never until the mankind making
    Bird beast and flower
    Fathering and all humbling darkness
    Tells with silence the last light breaking
    And the still hour
    Is come of the sea tumbling in harness

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