A Child’s Christmas in Wales by Dylan Thomas – Continued

Part 2 by Dylan Thomas

Years and years ago, when I was a boy, when there were wolves in Wales,

and birds the color of red-flannel petticoats whisked past the harp-shaped hills,

when we sang and wallowed all night and day in caves that smelt like Sunday afternoons in damp front farmhouse parlors,

and we chased, with the jawbones of deacons, the English and the bears,

before the motor car, before the wheel, before the duchess-faced horse,

when we rode the daft and happy hills bareback, it snowed and it snowed.

But here a small boy says: “It snowed last year, too. I made a snowman and my brother knocked it down and I knocked my brother down and then we had tea.” 

“But that was not the same snow,” I say. “Our snow was not only shaken from white wash buckets down the sky, it came shawling out of the ground and swam and drifted out of the arms and hands and bodies of the trees;

snow grew overnight on the roofs of the houses like a pure and grandfather moss, minutely -ivied the walls and settled on the postman, opening the gate, like a dumb, numb thunder-storm of white, torn Christmas cards.” 

“Were there postmen then, too?” 

“With sprinkling eyes and wind-cherried noses, on spread, frozen feet they crunched up to the doors and mittened on them manfully.

But all that the children could hear was a ringing of bells.” 

“You mean that the postman went rat-a-tat-tat and the doors rang?” 

“I mean that the bells the children could hear were inside them.” 

“I only hear thunder sometimes, never bells.” 

“There were church bells, too.” 

“Inside them?” 

“No, no, no, in the bat-black, snow-white belfries, tugged by bishops and storks.

And they rang their tidings over the bandaged town, over the frozen foam of the powder and ice-cream hills, over the crackling sea. It seemed that all the churches boomed for joy under my window; and the weathercocks crew for Christmas, on our fence.” 

“Get back to the postmen” 
“They were just ordinary postmen, found of walking and dogs and Christmas and the snow. They knocked on the doors with blue knuckles ….” 
“Ours has got a black knocker….” 

“And then they stood on the white Welcome mat in the little, drifted porches and huffed and puffed, making ghosts with their breath, and jogged from foot to foot like small boys wanting to go out.” 

“And then the presents?” 

“And then the Presents, after the Christmas box. And the cold postman, with a rose on his button-nose, tingled down the tea-tray-slithered run of the chilly glinting hill.

He went in his ice-bound boots like a man on fishmonger’s slabs.

He wagged his bag like a frozen camel’s hump, dizzily turned the corner on one foot, and, by God, he was gone.” 

To be continued…