Sunday, 4 May 2008

Under Milk Wood by Dylan Thomas

'To begin at the beginning'...

I was arranging a visit to Mousehole, Cornwall and whilst researching my visit (incredibly sad, yes - well informed, yes) I stumbled across Thomas' connections with this pretty village. A friend of his, Wyn Henderson, owned the now demolished 'Lobster Pot' harbourside. Thomas delighted in the village and proclaimed that he too, wanted to live somewhere like that. Llareggub, the fictional village Thomas describes is based on another harbourside village in Wales, but the influence of Mousehole on Thomas' creative thoughts is distinctly recognisable to anyone who has visited it and whilst I was reading, I imagined Mousehole through his eyes - the buildings and characters so incredibly vivid. We wandered along the harbour at night after a drink in the local hostelry - finding it silent and still, save the sound of waves against the sea walls.

This is a beautiful piece of writing: lyrical, humourous, quirky and theatrical. The voice of the narrator is particularly intelligent:
You can hear the love-sick woodpigeons mooning in bed. A dog barks in his sleep, farmyards away. The town ripples like a lake in the waking haze.
A picture of a community painted in words. Genius.