We visited Laugharne last year, ahead of the centenary of Dylan Thomas’s birth. The boathouse where he spent the final few years of his life, usually a cheery white, had been daubed in dull grey paint for filming.
Across the salt marsh, we skirted our way around St John’s Hill, following the Dylan Thomas Birthday Walk. Between verses of his Poem in October we took in views of the estuary; broad bands of sand and silver that sweep on past the castle and tiny town.
The air was full of the estuary’s stillness, a special kind of sound; silence, and the calls of oystercatcher and curlew.
Lines from Over St John’s Hill suddenly came to life.
Herons walked the edges of the Taf; we watched for the “hawk on fire”, but saw only the “black cap of jackdaws” now donning the walls of the castle.
“Brown as owls”.
A year has passed since I read the verses of the Poem in October from the panels along the Birthday Walk, and its final lines:
“O may my heart’s truth
Still be sung
On this high hill in a year’s turning.”
And so I return to St John’s Hill in my mind’s eye, and hope to be back there another year.
Happy birthday Dylan Thomas.
b. 27 October 1914