- The force that through the green fuse drives the flower
Drives my green age; that blasts the roots of trees
Is my destroyer.
And I am dumb to tell the crooked rose
My youth is bent by the same wintry fever.
- The Force That Through the Green Fuse Drives the Flower, st. 1 (1934)
- Light breaks where no sun shines;
Where no sea runs, the waters of the heart
Push in their tides.
- Light Breaks Where No Sun Shines, st. 1 (1934)
- The hand that signed the paper felled a city;
Five sovereign fingers taxed the breath,
Doubled the globe of dead and halved a country;
These five kings did a king to death.
- The Hand that Signed the Paper Felled a City, st. 1 (1936)
- When all my five and country senses see,
The fingers will forget green thumbs and mark
How, through the halfmoon's vegetable eye,
Husk of young stars and handfull zodiac,
Love in the frost is pared and wintered by.
- They shall have stars at elbow and foot;
Though they go mad they shall be sane,
Though they sink through the sea they shall rise again;
Though lovers be lost love shall not;
And death shall have no dominion.
- And Death Shall Have No Dominion, st. 1 (1943)
- After the first death, there is no other.
- And I saw in the turning so clearly a child's
Forgotten mornings when he walked with his mother
Through the parables
And the legends of the green chapels.
- Poem in October, st. 5 (1946)
- Do not go gentle into that good night,
Old age should burn and rave at close of day;
Rage, rage against the dying of the light.
- One Christmas was so much like another, in those years around the sea-town corner now, out of all sound except the distant speaking of the voices I sometimes hear a moment before sleep, that I can never remember whether it snowed for six days and six nights when I was twelve or whether it snowed for twelve days and twelve nights when I was six.
- A Child's Christmas in Wales, from Quite Early One Morning (1954)
- It is spring, moonless night in the small town, starless and bible-black, the cobblestreets silent and the hunched, courters'-and-rabbits' wood limping invisible down to the sloeblack, slow, black, crowblack, fishingboat-bobbing sea. The houses are blind as moles (though moles see fine tonight in the snouting, velvet dingles) or blind as Captain Cat there in the muffled middle by the pump and the town clock, the shops in mourning, the Welfare Hall in widows' weeds. And all the people of the lulled and dumbfound town are sleeping now.
- Under Milk Wood (1954)
- I fell in love — that is the only expression I can think of — at once, and am still at the mercy of words, though sometimes now, knowing a little of their behavior very well, I think I can influence them slightly and have even learned to beat them now and then, which they appear to enjoy.
- Poetic Manifesto, published in the Texas Quarterly (Winter 1961)
- You can tear a poem apart to see what makes it technically tick... You're back with the mystery of having been moved by words. The best craftsmanship always leaves holes and gaps in the works of the poem so that something that is not in the poem can creep, crawl, flash, or thunder in. The joy and function of poetry is, and was, the celebration of man, which is also the celebration of God.
- Poetic Manifesto
- Now as I was young and easy under the apple boughs
About the lilting house and happy as the grass was green,
The night above the dingle starry,
Time let me hail and climb
Golden in the heydays of his eyes.
And honoured among wagons I was prince of the apple towns.
- St. 1
- In the sun that is young once only,
Time let me play and be
Golden in the mercy of his means.
- St. 2
- And the sabbath rang slowly
In the pebbles of the holy streams.
- St. 2
- And honoured among foxes and pheasants by the gay house
Under the new made clouds and happy as the heart was long,
In the sun born over and over,
I ran my heedless ways.
- St. 5
- Time held me green and dying
Though I sang in my chains like the sea.
- St. 6