A Child’s Christmas in Wales by Dylan Thomas

From the prose work a ‘A Child’s Christmas in Wales’ by Dylan Thomas

Audio https://youtu.be/Hv4-sgFw3Go

Chapter 1

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. 

It was on the afternoon of the Christmas Eve, and I was in Mrs. Prothero’s garden, waiting for cats, with her son Jim. It was snowing. It was always snowing at Christmas. December, in my memory, is white as Lapland, though there were no reindeers.

But there were cats. Patient, cold and callous, our hands wrapped in socks, we waited to snowball the cats. Sleek and long as jaguars and horrible-whiskered, spitting and snarling, they would slink and sidle over the white back-garden walls, and the lynx-eyed hunters,

Jim and I, fur-capped and moccasined trappers from Hudson Bay, off Mumbles Road, would hurl our deadly snowballs at the green of their eyes. The wise cats never appeared. 

We were so still, Eskimo-footed arctic marksmen in the muffling silence of the eternal snows – eternal, ever since Wednesday – that we never heard Mrs. Prothero’s first cry from her igloo at the bottom of the garden. Or, if we heard it at all, it was, to us, like the far-off challenge of our enemy and prey, the neighbor’s polar cat. But soon the voice grew louder. 

“Fire!” cried Mrs. Prothero, and she beat the dinner-gong. 

And we ran down the garden, with the snowballs in our arms, toward the house; and smoke, indeed, was pouring out of the dining-room, and the gong was bombilating, and Mrs. Prothero was announcing ruin like a town town crier in Pompeii. This was better than all the cats in Wales standing on the wall in a row. We bounded into the house, laden with snowballs, and stopped at the open door of the smoke-filled room. 

Something was burning all right; perhaps it was Mr. Prothero, who always slept there after midday dinner with a newspaper over his face. But he was standing in the middle of the room, saying, “A fine Christmas!” and smacking at the smoke with a slipper. 

“Call the fire brigade,” cried Mrs. Prothero as she beat the gong. 

“There won’t be there,” said Mr. Prothero, “it’s Christmas.” 

There was no fire to be seen, only clouds of smoke and Mr. Prothero standing in the middle of them, waving his slipper as though he were conducting. 

“Do something,” he said. And we threw all our snowballs into the smoke – I think we missed Mr. Prothero – and ran out of the house to the telephone box. 
“Let’s call the police as well,” Jim said. “And the ambulance.” “And Ernie Jenkins, he likes fires.” 

But we only called the fire brigade, and soon the fire engine came and three tall men in helmets brought a hose into the house and Mr. Prothero got out just in time before they turned it on.

Nobody could have had a noisier Christmas Eve. And when the firemen turned off the hose and were standing in the wet, smoky room, Jim’s Aunt, Miss. Prothero, came downstairs and peered in at them. Jim and I waited, very quietly, to hear what she would say to them. She said the right thing, always.

She looked at the three tall firemen in their shining helmets, standing among the smoke and cinders and dissolving snowballs, and she said,

“Would you like anything to read?” 

To be continued.

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About Dylan Thomas

Dylan Thomas was born in Wales on 27th of October 1914 at 5 Cwmdonkin Drive in Swansea, Wales United Kingdom. One of Wales greatest sons. His life includes many great written works of prose and poems which remain so popular throughout the world. Works include; ‘A Child’s Christmas in Wales, Death Shall Have No Dominion, Fernhill, Do Not Go Gentle Into That Goodnight.’ And he is also famous for ‘Under Milkwood’ in his play from which was broadcast by the BBC in 1954. It was debut one year after his death. Dylan Thomas died 9, November 1953.

Moon Talk

There is a harvest moon over Swansea. Makes me stay up late at night. Bedtime conversations wanting to talk about the Brexit and other things. Then when your sleeping, I talk about the moon; he tells me about the sun and all I can talk about is you.”

It’s touching to know that we’ve connected in a way that we want to remember.

Connecting with another human being is poetry to me. I think writing allows us to let others know how we feel about someone.

It’s more than words; it’s a feeling, where they are coming from, the spark and what makes the world go round and the things that breaks us too.

Every word is a piece of a puzzle; some words we look for; what I look for when I write and poetry is no exception.

Do you ever wonder if the poem your reading is about you?

I’ve always described myself as someone who can easily express feelings on paper.

I have found that through writing, that it is just my way of expression of whatever feelings we have shared.

Words that would not go on their own way, but words of affection that should not be left unsaid.

I’ve written the most about the conversations we’ve had and then later translated the spoken words onto paper; finding there is more than one way to express desire.

I will talk to the moon about us and share all my emotions and wanted you to know I can still feel everything that I’ve ever felt for you; and when the moon goes to bed and when the sun comes up again; those feelings still remain.

I just went outside last night to have a late night conversation with the moon. He just wanted to talk about the sun and I all could talk about is about was you.

Amazing Swansea and The Gower

All the Colours of Green – continues

Time has just flown by and Christmas is only six weeks away.. Do you ever think one might could tire of seeing the same places everyday?

I think I will never tire of Wales. And all my thoughts will not expire ever after all; for in that time I have had to see real wishes come true, it’s here where I have found hints of life and love and home and then there is someone here now to cling to. He calls me his ray of hope; and his pinken every morning.

People ask me all the time; “Do I miss Texas?” I reply; I miss people; mostly my sons and family and my old friends. But my home is here now.

So there are moments so I might know that this is just the beginning, discovering that there are places beyond narrow one. I have seen massive green forest, farms and gardens, medieval castles, palaces and cathedrals.

I am American girl in Wales, where my duality is to reason all; it is one with every living breathing moving particle is one is the absolute. I will stay here and I have no desire to return to the States.

Duality is an illusion. It must be this narrow place inside me that contains my infinite love for one and the same. Julien is my gravity and advanced physics and mathematics.

Only when the heart has experienced longing or suffering and pain can we understand that what is important and that which hopes hangs onto, finding that love is the only shimmering effervescent realm of continual creation.

Note- “All the Colors of Green” is available at Amazon on Kindle.
Thank you to all my followers and for reading.

Enjoy!-
Love, M.

Chill With The Moon

“There’s an electricity in the moon. A pulse of magic, an energy. A bewitching entrancement unlike that of the sun.” ~ Unknown

The moon is for things unseen, things undone in the shadows and beneath the fog of night.

It’s for receding tides and waves upon rocky shores and pirates hidden coves — it’s for wild hearts and unconcerned minds.

It’s where plans are made in the dark and secrets revealed under the soft haze of light… it’s a reflection upon the water coming through the clouds long after dark.

Only after dark can we learn, absorb and study the effects of the day. It’s self reflection that we take the time to make.

Sometimes I get the urge to stay up late… that’s when the creative juices flow the most. It’s where I am left unencumbered by the craziness of day!

There is an attraction between the Moon and the Earth. The effects are not so obvious as an ocean tide. There are other forces are at work too.

We live on a peninsula; there is the bay, the channel and estuary and at night; there is the spherical symmetry of the atmosphere and lunar pressures; oscillations and pressure variations.

The weather phenomena’s are not conditional in Swansea. They are an exact and non-negotiable and we’re here in the middle of it.

And it is just fine with me to be under the moon in Wales with you.

Time to chill with the moon.

Mumbles Headlight

Mumbles In Swansea; a headland of coastal mountains so high dropping down into Swansea Bay. This cape is of considerable size. Distinct by nature with high breaking waves, rocky shores, intense erosion, and steep rocky cliffs.

Mumbles is known for its unusual name. The mounts of the islands were thought by some to have been named by French. From the ship before reaching the coast, the French sailors named Mumbles; seeing the perfect shape of a women’s breast.

The word ‘Mumbles’ may be in French; ‘les mamelles,’ meaning ‘the breasts’. Another possible source of the name is from the word Mum old English for breast in reference to a “breast-like hill” or from mamma (“mother”, in reference to a local river goddess).

The Mumbles Lighthouse was built during the 1790s, and was converted to solar powered operation in 1995.

The nearby pier was opened in 1898 at the terminus of the Swansea and Mumbles Railway, which in its time was one of the oldest passenger railways in the world.

The railway closed in 1960.

A lifeboat station has operated from Mumbles since 1866.

Maen Ceti; Great Stone of Sketty

Cefn Bryn overlooks Maen Ceti; a chambered cairn or burial tomb also known as Arthur’s Stone.  Maen Ceti or the ‘Great Stone of Sketty’ is one of the most well known dolmens in Wales.

The stone weighs between 25-30 tons. This capstone measures about 4 metres in length, over 2 metres tall and 2 metres in width.

It stands on a northward facing slope just below the crest of the northern end of the ridge-backed hill of Cefn Bryn stretching east from the Iron Age hillfort at Cilifor Top, north across Llanrhidian Sands and west to the mouth of the River Loughor or Afon Llwchwr where it flows into Carmarthen Bay.

To the north is the Loughor Estuary which separates Gower from Llanelli and Burry Port.
The hills skyline above the estuary are composed of rocks from the Upper Carboniferous, and mostly covered in green ferns and mountain grasses.

The hills are of the common land its where the animals roam and graze freely and it’s where the ground is hilly and fertile. This belt of rich farmland meets the north coast at a prominent, rounded hill with Iron Age fortifications around its summit.

Arthur’s Stone or Maen Ceti can be found on Cefn Bryn in the Gower Peninsula. This massive stone weighs over 25 tons and marks the site of two Neolithic burial chambers, dating from around 6000 years ago. The stone is one of Gower’s best known landmarks and has long been the subject of wonder.

Standing above the Estuary on Cefn Bryn, I feel the presence of this gigantic stone and wonder about the ancients who placed it here so many  thousands of years ago

For a long time, I believed that Arthur’s Stone is a feat of engineering similar to Stonehenge, where Neolithic people used very basic equipment to move the heavy stones into position and some were carried by glaciers during the last Ice Age.

Below the alter stones, you can see the pillar stones standing to create the burial chambers below and the smaller upright stones are there as support.

Arthur’s Stone measures 4 x 2 x 2 metres, but it was once much larger than this. A big piece of it, weighing 10 tons, broke off sometime around 1690 and can still be seen lying next to Arthur’s Stone today.

 The site of Arthur’s Stone was one of the first places to be protected under the Ancient Monuments Act of 1882.

This is my favourite place in the Gower.

References:

Barber, Chris., Mysterious Wales, Paladin Books, London W1X, 1987.

Hawkes, Jacquetta., A Guide To The Prehistoric And Roman Monuments In England And Wales, Cardinal, London, 1975.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cefn_Bryn

*The Gower Society, A Guide To Gower, The Publication Committee of The Gower Soc., (orig. prepared 1965. Edt. 1989).