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And Death shall have no Dominion

By Dylan Thomas

And death shall have no dominion.
Dead men naked they shall be one
With the man in the wind and the west moon;
When their bones are picked clean and the clean bones gone,
They shall have stars at elbow and foot;
Though they go mad they shall be sane,
Though they sink through the sea they shall rise again;
Though lovers be lost love shall not;
And death shall have no dominion.

And death shall have no dominion.
Under the windings of the sea
They lying long shall not die windily;
Twisting on racks when sinews give way,
Strapped to a wheel, yet they shall not break;
Faith in their hands shall snap in two,
And the unicorn evils run them through;
Split all ends up they shan't crack;
And death shall have no dominion.

And death shall have no dominion.
No more may gulls cry at their ears
Or waves break loud on the seashores;
Where blew a flower may a flower no more
Lift its head to the blows of the rain;
Though they be mad and dead as nails,
Heads of the characters hammer through daisies;
Break in the sun till the sun breaks down,
And death shall have no dominion.


See http://crookedmuse.keenspace.com/death.html for a wonderful pictorial representation of this poem, which is similar to Dylan Thomas' "Do not go gentle into that good night." The latter is a better poem - more lyrical and flowing as well as having sublime imagery - however there is something interesting about this one. The language is somewhat obscure but thre's something bleakly comic about it. Hmm. Some images are just plain bizarre. What are "unicorn evils?" Suggestions on a postcard to the ususal address... Frater 219 tells me "Unicorn in unicorn evils is an adjective, meaning evils with one horn only -- evils which concentrate their power in a single sharp blow. Perhaps a contrast to dilemmas, which classically have two horns."

Dylan Thomas wasn't really a truly melancholic poet like Tennyson - there's always something lighthearted about Thomas in all his writing. this poem is quietly superioir; micking death from a safe position. These strong statements of life frame the whole poem giving the thing some sort of outwards optimism.

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