Poems ‘To Dylan’ by Robert Gurney
This book of poems by Robert Gurney follows Dylan Thomas around Gower, in Port Eynon, Horton, Three Cliffs Bay, Rhossili, Reynoldston, Llangennith and on Cefn Bryn but also outside Gower, in Swansea, Oystermouth, Gorseinon, Laugharne and London.
The author first visited Gower when he was a child. He remembers standing, in the nineteen-fifties, on shattered glass in the then abandoned airport control tower on Fairwood Common. He remembers cycling past high roadside banks bursting with wild flowers.
His wife Kathleen Patricia (‘Paddy’) is from the area.
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Praise for ‘To Dylan’:
“A lovely, touching tribute.” John Goodby
“I like your light touch and gentle humour.” Robert Havard
“As only happens with true poetry, I know I will never stop reading it.” Ramón Minieri.
“Stunning … you have a wonderful, magical quality in your words … “ Tom Scott, Richard Burton Museum
It is the sound of Dylan’s voice, the sound of his poetry read aloud, either by Dylan himself, many years ago, on the BBC or by another Welsh person, by Anthony Hopkins, by Richard Burton, or by a friend of mine, the late Philip Madoc, that has inspired me. When I write a poem I often hear Dylan’s voice in my head. It is sonorous, baritone, deep and it echoes in the mind.
A poem in which I heard Dylan’s voice or, if you like, that I wrote with Dylan’s voice seemingly articulating the words in my head, was ‘Sounds’. It describes the sounds of my home town that I heard when I was growing up. I dispense with punctuation in much of the poem as the sounds drift in and out of my memory.
As I often hear or imagine Dylan’s voice when I am writing, I also often imagine Dylan doing something or other. I see him debating with his friends in the Kardomah (both the old and the new) in Swansea, for example (‘The Toddington Poetry Society’, ‘The Kardomah’).
A gentleman, the JP in one of the Kardomah poems, who lives on a farm to the north of Swansea in a place called Cwmgwili, said to me of Poetry some ten years ago: “It flows though the air” [in Wales]. I tend to think that it flows through the air in many places, not all, but it is true that it is almost tangible in Wales.
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The Land of Poets
It was midnight.
25 degrees below zero.
The bus broke down
on the road between
Trelew to Esquel
in a place called
There were wild dogs
I thought I heard Dylan
whisper in my ear:
“This is a country
where they take poets
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