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We can see that the speaker is an adult male, most likely Dylan Thomas himself, recalling his childhood.
Thomas’s second volume of poetry, As cited by Ferris, the review proclaimed: “The work of this very young man (he is twenty-two years of age) is on a huge scale, both in theme and structurally. I could not name one poet of this, the youngest generation, who shows so great a promise, and even so great an achievement.” The volume includes a significant sonnet sequence of 10 poems, “Altarwise by owl-light,” written in Ireland the year before publication.
In these sonnets Thomas moved from the pre-Christian primitivism of most of the we can see the beginnings of the pastoral mode which reaches its fulfillment in the great lyrics of Thomas’s last poems.” And, as Korg said, “at least three of the poems in the second volume are about the poet’s reactions to other people, themes of an entirely different class from those of ; and these three anticipate [Thomas’s] turning outward in his later poems toward such subjects as his aunt’s funeral, the landscape, and his relations with his wife and children.” Some of the best poems in the book are rather straightforward pieces—”This bread break,” “The hand that signed the paper,” “And death shall have no dominion”—but others, such as “I, in my intricate image,” are as involved and abstruse as the poems of the earlier volume.
Death is an inevitable factor of life, one which all of humanity must eventually face.
What varies among people is how they handle this ‘coming of the end’.
Watkins became a frequent source of money for the continually destitute Thomas.
During this period Thomas’s drinking became a serious problem, and his friends would sometimes take him off to out-of-the-way places in Cornwall and Ireland to remove him from temptation with the hope that he would do more writing.
The poem was written to resemble Thomas’s childhood at his aunt’s house when he was a kid.
The poem also weaves in a lot of imagery and symbolism with its six stanzas, nine lines per stanza, and unusual meter.
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