A Child’s Christmas in Wales

Ok, so perhaps this is not strictly poetry, but it’s definitely lyric prose, and by one of the best poets ever:  

A Child’s Christmas in Wales – by Dylan Thomas 

One Christmas was so much like another, in those years around the sea-town corner now and out of all sound except the distant speaking of the voices I sometimes hear a moment before sleep, that I can never remember whether it snowed for six days and six nights when I was twelve or whether it snowed for twelve days and twelve nights when I was six.

All the Christmases roll down toward the two-tongued sea, like a cold and headlong moon bundling down the sky that was our street; and they stop at the rim of the ice-edged fish-freezing waves, and I plunge my hands in the snow and bring out whatever I can find. In goes my hand into that wool-white bell-tongued ball of holidays resting at the rim of the carol-singing sea, and out come Mrs. Prothero and the firemen…

For me, Christmas isn’t Christmas without reading this poem/story at least once. My dad read it to me when I was little, and I think it was his love of these words that made me love them too. There are so many different editions out there. I have an old, tiny one with woodcuts by Ellen Raskin that I treasure and that cost less than $2, but I must say that a few years ago I came upon the gorgeous edition with illustrations by Trina Schart Hyman and snapped it up too.

For one of the best treats of the season, go to Salon Audio to hear Dylan Thomas reading A Child’s Christmas in Wales. Gives me the shivers.

Happy Christmas.

2 thoughts on “A Child’s Christmas in Wales

  1. Sara

    Oh! I had no idea it was online somewhere. I have the recording on an old album framed in my office, but I don’t have a record player to play it on. Sad, huh? So I went and listened, just now, to the MP3 file. Still magical.

  2. shelfelf Post author

    Even though you can’t listen to it, it’s kind of cool to have that old record. I love old records. I hunted around a bit until I found the MP3. Then I started to listen right away but I didn’t have time to hear all of it. His voice is so mesmerizing I could hardly pull myself away. Something to look forward to in my first few days of holiday!

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