Friday, 21 August 2009

Aeronwy Thomas (1943-2009) dancing in the sun

The poet Aeronwy Thomas, the daughter of Dylan Thomas, has passed away. I never met Aeronwy, although I was hoping to do so at the Laugharne Poetry Festival, but due to various reasons and circumstances I was unable to get there on time. In fact I arrived in Laugharne a month late. Nevertheless, I did visit the Boat House home of the late Dylan Thomas and his family and also the graveyard, or more correctly said: the hillside meadow with a few graves on it - and from there I followed the heron-priested estuary path over the cow-patched fields and back to the Boat House. I took Bed & Breakfast at one of the local pubs, bought some books at the Boat House shop, and had a lovely relaxing time before moving on to Tenby for the pub crowds and Prince Harry drank here! and the isolation of Skomer for the seabirds.

What Aeronwy Thomas and I have in common are that we are Welsh and that we share the same publisher; Martin Holroyd at Poetry Monthly Press. I have before me a copy of Aeronwy's collection Rooks and Poems and I recall an apt quote from the father, dad, Dylan Thomas about his daughter written in New Quay when she was barely 1 year old (Letters to Vernon Watkins) "Aeronwy doesn't walk, she climbs rocks!" and another written a year later (Selected Letters of Dylan Thomas) to Oscar Williams -"I have a shack at the edge of the cliff where my children hop like fleas in a box [...] my wife grumbles at me and them and the sea for all the mess we make, and I work among cries and clatters like a venomous beaver in a parrot house".

One or two quotes from Aeronwy Thomas's Rooks and Poems would seem to be appropriate to conclude this small tribute. It's always interesting, indeed fascinating, to know what other people, particularly poets, think and say about death - the subject, the raison d'etre so often explored by the diverse bardic and philosophical brains of this world. The following Aeronwy Thomas' quotes, as readers of her poetry would doubtless expect, neatly tidy-up some thoughts and conclusions for us.

I walk over the edge of my dream.
my own face greets me
in the morning mirror.

(from Turning the Ghost)

the sands of time are running low
but my feet are still itching to run
to jete´e and twirl
my skirt hem may be untacked
but, look, I'm dancing in the sun.

(from Older)

Details and a review of Aeronwy Thomas' recently published book Shadows and Shades - Selected Poems can be found at the Poetry Monthly link >>>


  1. thanks for that info Gwilym and well chosen quotes

  2. Venomous beaver in a parrot house - I love that.
    I saw that she had died - and I love her poetry. I have always wanted to go to Laugharne - shall not get there now, it is a bit too far to travel (not as far as Vienna though!)
    Glad you enjoyed the stars. Now that I have your address (!!) I shall send more when I get them - a friend of a friend knows someone who works at Nasa I think.

  3. Thanks for this brief obit - I've read a couple of her pamphlets and of the work she did in New York with Peter Thabit Jones.

    In the last few weeks facebook has twice suggested I befriend her - obviously they don't know the real reason why she hasn't been using her account recently!

  4. Thanks for comments. I have added details of Aeronwy Thomas' final published book: a 'selected poems' now available from Martin Holroyd's press.

  5. "TURNING THE GHOST" of AERONWY THOMAS is a very interesting, powerful and captivating poem.

    Aeronwy did choose to combine this poem with a painting of mine some months before her death. I am honored.

  6. Thank you Petros, and much appreciated. I'll pass on your comment to Martin Holroyd, Areonwy's publisher.


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