Dylan Thomas displays the full force of his Welsh eloquence, as befits the writer of Under Milk Wood, in the opening verses of this birthday sortie. The complete poem can be found in BBC Radio 4’s compilation The Seasons: The Nation’s Most Treasured Nature Poems (Faber, £8.99).

      from  POEM IN OCTOBER

It was my thirtieth year to heaven

Loading article content

Woke to my hearing from harbour and neighbour wood

And the mussel pooled and the heron

Priested shore

The morning beckon

With water praying and call of seagull and rook

And the knock of sailing boats on the net webbed wall

Myself to set foot

That second

In the still sleeping town and set forth.

~

My birthday began with the water –

Birds and the birds of the winged trees flying my name

Above the farms and the white horses

And I rose

In rainy autumn

And walked abroad in a shower of all my days.

High tide and the heron dived when I took the road

Over the border

And the gates

Of the town closed as the town awoke.

~

A springful of larks in a rolling

Cloud and the roadside bushes brimming with whistling

Blackbirds and the sun of October

Summery

On the hill’s shoulder,

Here were fond climates and sweet singers suddenly

Come in the morning where I wandered and listened

To the rain wringing

Wind blow cold

In the wood faraway under me.