Fern Hill The poem Fern Hill by Dylan Thomas explores childhood memories and the melancholy reality of lost youth. Fern Hill compels the reader to come back over and over again to seek more insight into the joy and pleasure of a time of innocence lost. The figurative speech causes the reader to seek the elusive youth and boyhood days of the character and encourages the reader to mourn and celebrate with the writer for the once glorious days of his youth.
From the opening line, the memories of boyhood days are revealed. The writer recalls his carefree life.A beautiful playground, a wooded valley full of apple orchards and fresh green meadows, which bring the boy great happiness, happy as the grass was green, can be visualized. Each line is full of boyhood memories. The boy, as many young innocent boys do, pretends many things in his playground, his cloistered world. It is his golden time, his heyday to be young and carefree, to pretend to be prince of the apple towns. There is a sense of such joy in this time in his life; he sings, happily in his home on the farm. And yet amidst this joyful memory, is a sense of sadness as we realize youth and innocence does not last.
This reality and sadness begins to become mingled with the joyful memory as we read, in the sun that is young once only, time let me play and be golden in the mercy of his means. Blended with this awareness of reality, more boyhood memories are offered; memories of pretending to behuntsman and herdsman. All our senses are beckoned into the pleasures of this joyful time in the boys life, we are invited to hear the sounds of the calves singing and the foxes barking clearly and coldly, as he plays his horn. We are welcomed to sense the lovely calmness of sabbath days that seem to be slow and quiet as a babbling brook. We are encouraged to visualize the hay fields, as high as the house; to hear the sounds of the wind whistling through the chimneys. We are swept away into our own memories of childhood bedtime, as we are beckoned to hear the valley’s sounds, owls, nightjars, and horses prancing in the corral in the dark.
A sense of peace and awe is evoked as the writer remembers awaking each morning to the sight of the farm, the meadow white with dew, the sounds of the rooster crowing, the horses whinnying as they walked out of the stables on to the warm, sunny fields.Then the poem brings us back to the present reality; the young and carefree believe they will live forever, that life will always be this carefree; Under the new made clouds and happy as the heart was long, in the sun born over and over, I ran my heedless ways. The reality of life is that life is all too short, that the joy and innocence of youth is all too brief; Nothing I cared, in the lamb white days, that time would take me up to the swallow thronged loft by the shadow of my hand, in the moon that is always rising, nor that riding to sleep I should hear him fly with the high fields and wake to the farm forever fled from the childless land.
The last three lines of the poem bring us to the poignant reality of the joys and sadness of life, Oh as I was young and easy in the mercy of his means, time held me green and dying though I sang in my chains like the sea. All good things must come to an end, and when they do you will look back on the times that you had and wish that it was that way forever. To conclude, this poem helps us to appreciate both the joys and the sadness of life.It is in the remembering that we can cherish the joys of what was; it is in the same memories we can be sad for that which is no more, and it is in knowing both, that we realize that we can live life to the fullest. It has something to do with ageing. Dylan Thomas is looking back at his childhood as being carefree and happy as time let him do what he pleased but the whole time he was getting closer to death.