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Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Dylan Thomas: A Child's Christmas in Wales

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Back in November I scanned a few of Trina Schart Hyman's illustrations of A Child's Christmas in Wales, by Dylan Thomas to share with you, and I had already typed up the start of the story, and loaded the YouTube. Bear with me as I nurse my hands a little longer. On the horizon: voice recognition software for my computer. Merry Christmas to me!

This is a boy's adventure I post, in honor of my soon-to-be-born grandson. Dylan Thomas's fantastically and mythically detailed descriptions should prompt us all to get our own memories of Christmas down, and giggle again and again. OK, on with the master.

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 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 my 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.

Pull up a child, and continue reading here . . .

Listen to Dylan Thomas himself read the story in his lugubrious but simultaneously old-child-joyful voice below . . .









The audio recording of Dylan Thomas reading it, what a voice . . .




Text copyright 1954 by New Directions.
Illustrations copyright 1985 by Trina Schart Hyman.
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19 comments:

Maureen said...

I have an old copy of this wonderful book. Lovely post, Ruth.

P.S. It was a delight to see your poem featured in Every Day Poems.

"Auntie" sezzzzzz... said...

Lovely...

The DVD of it, with Denholm Elliott, is one of my favorite Christmas Holiday films to be watched.

I used the quote below, for my daily quote on Tues. :-)

Voice recognition software for your computer!!! Wonderful!!!

And best of everything for your soon-to-be-born grandson, and his parents. :-)

"Then I would be slap-dashing home, the gravy smell of the dinners of others, the bird smell, the brandy, the pudding and mince, coiling up to my nostrils..."
~~Dylan Thomas

who said...

sounds like one or both of the Matthew Twins James & John born Jan 17, 1971 (according to the back of a newspaper clipping that was left in a magazine that I found)

it's hard to tell for sure though because my hearing is not what it used to be (and the "births" in the newspaper clipping was on the opposite side of the actual article the newspaper was clipped for, so I can't read the whole "births" section)

rosaria said...

Wonderful sharing!

Arti said...

It's always more meaningful to hear authors reading their own works. Thanks for sharing this wonderful piece of Christmas writing... esp. with DT's "old-child-joyful voice". Also, these illustrations are just lovely. I can feel your excitement, Ruth, in welcoming your soon-to-be-born grandson. All the best!

Louise Gallagher said...

How delightful.

And I hope your hands find delight on the keyboard again soon.

Mimi Foxmorton said...

How beautiful...
I could live inside those photos.....

What a lovely Yuletide gift!

Merry Christmas!
~Mimi

Ruth said...

Friends, thank you for coming by with your ears and hearts and Christmas greetings. Tomorrow is Solstice Day, and why-oh-why does my heart expand into the shortest day of the year?

I find this reading of Dylan Thomas's to be so utterly charming that I can't imagine a Christmas without it after this, my first year to listen to him read it. I anticipate that my grandson will be quite familiar with it by the age Thomas was a boy with his friend Jim shooting snowballs at cats.

hedgewitch said...

Lovely post, Ruth. And YAY! on the voice recognition software. That should surely make for a Happy New Year. I was reading excerpts from this just the other night in an anthology, but I love these illustrations--thanks for sharing them.

The Clever Pup said...

Love it Love it love it. We listen to an old album of this every Christmas Eve. What lovely pictures you've found. I posted a little bit of the poem this year starting with "Back to the presents". Great minds...

who said...

Well, evidently my hearing is NOT what it used to be. And whattaya know, that video has been around for almost a year and I now remember the first time I heard it. I don't know what to say except that I must have been distracted by the bird chirps that seem to be an everyday occurrence. I must have been focusing on something else entirely, as just barely even a hint of the accent being slightly thinner was enough for me to not recognize it.

it seems I am slipping

distracted by shiny objects said...

Love this. The best of Christmas.

George said...

Great, heart-warming post, Ruth. Great illustrations and how wonderful to hear these remembrances in the incomparable voice of Dylan Thomas. Merry Christmas to you and your family, and may you receive deliverance with your voice recognition software!

Oliag said...

What a wonderful treat for grandchildren everywhere! My two will be here tomorrow evening and I have plans to listen to this with them...how I would love to get my hands on a book with those gorgeous illustrations:) I think I will be keeping my eyes open during my visits to used bookstores...it is always fun to have a quest when there:)

Happy Solstice dear Ruth! I do agree that today is magical...

Jeanie said...

What a beautiful gift to share with us for Christmas. Thank you, Ruth, and thank you for all the joy you have given me in this past year, visiting your wonderful space. Merry Christmas!

Ginnie said...

I can't imagine winter or Christmas illustrations any better than these, Ruth. WOW. What a gift to your grandson!

Margaret said...

Stunning imagery that I could get lost in. And yes, what a voice. I will be back to hear the whole story. Thank you for this. Merry, merry Christmas, Ruth.

Lorenzo — Alchemist's Pillow said...

What a wonderful post. I think this is the closest I have gotten to Christmas yet this year.

Christine said...

This adds to my introduction to this marvellous work just this year. The illustrations are wonderful as is the voice that reads his own words. Thankyou.