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Before I Knocked Analysis



Author: poem of Dylan Thomas Type: poem Views: 17

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Before I knocked and flesh let enter,

With liquid hands tapped on the womb,

I who was as shapeless as the water

That shaped the Jordan near my home

Was brother to Mnetha's daughter

And sister to the fathering worm.



I who was deaf to spring and summer,

Who knew not sun nor moon by name,

Felt thud beneath my flesh's armour,

As yet was in a molten form

The leaden stars, the rainy hammer

Swung by my father from his dome.



I knew the message of the winter,

The darted hail, the childish snow,

And the wind was my sister suitor;

Wind in me leaped, the hellborn dew;

My veins flowed with the Eastern weather;

Ungotten I knew night and day.



As yet ungotten, I did suffer;

The rack of dreams my lily bones

Did twist into a living cipher,

And flesh was snipped to cross the lines

Of gallow crosses on the liver

And brambles in the wringing brains.



My throat knew thirst before the structure

Of skin and vein around the well

Where words and water make a mixture

Unfailing till the blood runs foul;

My heart knew love, my belly hunger;

I smelt the maggot in my stool.



And time cast forth my mortal creature

To drift or drown upon the seas

Acquainted with the salt adventure

Of tides that never touch the shores.

I who was rich was made the richer

By sipping at the vine of days.



I, born of flesh and ghost, was neither

A ghost nor man, but mortal ghost.

And I was struck down by death's feather.

I was a mortal to the last

Long breath that carried to my father

The message of his dying christ.



You who bow down at cross and altar,

Remember me and pity Him

Who took my flesh and bone for armour

And doublecrossed my mother's womb.






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