Friday, December 18, 2009

Bring out the tall tales now

"Years and years ago ... when there were wolves in Wales, and birds the color of red-flannel petticoats whisked past the harp-shaped hills, when we sang and wallowed all night and day in caves that smelt like Sunday afternoons in damp front farmhouse parlors, and we chased, with the jawbones of deacons, the English and the bears, before the motor car, before the wheel, before the duchess-faced horse, when we rode the daft and happy hills bareback, it snowed and it snowed.

Ghosts whooed like owls in the long nights when I dared not look over my shoulder; animals lurked in the cubbyhole under the stairs and the gas meter ticked. And I remember that we went singing carols once, when there wasn't the shaving of a moon to light the flying streets. At the end of a long road was a drive that led to a large house, and we stumbled up the darkness of the drive that night, each one of us afraid, each one holding a stone in his hand in case, and all of us too brave to say a word. The wind through the trees made noises as of old and unpleasant and maybe webfooted men wheezing in caves. We reached the black bulk of the house. "What shall we give them? Hark the Herald?"

"No," Jack said, "Good King Wencelas. I'll count three." One, two three, and we began to sing, our voices high and seemingly distant in the snow-felted darkness round the house that was occupied by nobody we knew. We stood close together, near the dark door. Good King Wencelas looked out On the Feast of Stephen ... And then a small, dry voice, like the voice of someone who has not spoken for a long time, joined our singing: a small, dry, eggshell voice from the other side of the door: a small dry voice through the keyhole.

And when we stopped running we were outside our house; the front room was lovely; balloons floated under the hot-water-bottle-gulping gas; everything was good again and shone over the town."

"A Child's Christmas in Wales" by Dylan Thomas

It snowed last night but as he would have said, not the same snow. Not a dumb, numb thunder-storm of white, torn Christmas cards. I did my best this morning walking my blind more-than-slightly wolfy-looking boy through the snow. We walked the first footsteps across the field and he romped through the snow as playful as a pup.

But still not the same snow. Perhaps it will when I'm There.


  1. Seriously I am swooning. This was the best post of the week.

    Thanki you.

    Love Renee xoxo

  2. Thank you, Renee, but not my prose. All credit to Dylan Thomas. My only endeavour is to keep his beautiful language alive.

    You should read the whole essay for just the joy of childhood. Here's a link:

  3. I really liked this, not sure I have ever read anything flavored quite like it.

  4. Bless your cotton socks for this. Wonderful post. Thank you for all of them this year and for your friendship. Sorry I have been a poor blogger of late. Will do better in 2010! Stay warm and have some fun. xxx

  5. Lovely. I hope you have a lovely Christmas. Jean xx


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