Sunday, December 25, 2011

A Child's Christmas in Wales

"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."
From an edition illustrated by Edward Ardizzon
 "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."  

Dylan Thomas's famous story is the apt December 25 selection for The Bibliophile's Devotional: 365 Days of Literary Classics. It began with a 1945 BBC talk called "Memories of Christmas," which Thomas expanded for an essay in Picture Post and later sold to Harper's Bazaar under the title 'A Child's Memories of a Christmas in Wales.' On a 1952 tour of America, he was visited at the Chelsea Hotel by two young women, Barbara Holdridge and Marianne Mantell, who were interested in recording authors reading their own work. Thomas agreed on a fee of $500 on the first 1,000 records and a 10 percent royalty thereafter; this was the auspicious birth of Caedmon Audio.

No comments:

Post a Comment