'Elegy' by Dylan Thomas

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Too proud to die; broken and blind he died
The darkest way, and did not turn away,
A cold kind man brave in his narrow prideOn that darkest day.Oh, forever may
He lie lightly, at last, on the last, crossed
Hill, under the grass, in love, and there growYoung among the long flocks, and never lie lost
Or still all the numberless days of his death, though
Above all he longed for his mother's breastWhich was rest and dust, and in the kind ground
The darkest justice of death, blind and unblessed.
Let him find no rest but be fathered and found,I prayed in the crouching room, by his blind bed,
In the muted house, one minute before
Noon, and night, and light.The rivers of the deadVeined his poor hand I held, and I saw
Through his unseeing eyes to the roots of the sea.
(An old tormented man three-quarters blind,I am not too proud to cry that He and he
Will never never go out of my mind.
All his bones crying, and poor in all but pain,Being innocent, he dreaded that he died
Hating his God, but what he was was plain:
An old kind man brave in his burning pride.The sticks of the house were his; his books he owned.
Even as a baby he had never cried;
Nor did he now, save to his secret wound.Out of his eyes I saw the last light glide.
Here among the light of the lording sky
An old blind man is with me where I goWalking in the meadows of his son's eye
On whom a world of ills came down like snow.
He cried as he died, fearing at last the spheres'Last sound, the world going out without a breath:
Too proud to cry, too frail to check the tears,
And caught between two nights, blindness and death.O deepest wound of all that he should die
On that darkest day.Oh, he could hide
The tears out of his eyes, too proud to cry.

Editor 1 Interpretation

Elegy by Dylan Thomas: A Masterpiece of Grief and Love

When we think of elegies, we think of poems that mourn the dead. We think of melancholy, sadness, and grief. But when we think of Dylan Thomas's "Elegy," we think of something more than just mourning for the departed. We think of a love that transcends death, a love that echoes through the ages, a love that is both tragic and beautiful. In this literary criticism and interpretation, we will explore the world of Dylan Thomas's "Elegy" and discover the hidden depths of his masterpiece.

The Poet and his Art

Before we delve into the poem itself, let us first take a closer look at the poet and his art. Dylan Thomas was a Welsh poet and writer who rose to fame in the mid-20th century. He was known for his innovative use of language, his vivid imagery, and his passionate themes. His poetry was often inspired by his Welsh roots, his love of nature, and his experiences of life and death.

In "Elegy," we can see all of these elements coming together to create a work of art that is both beautiful and haunting. Thomas uses his signature style of writing to paint a picture of grief and loss, but he also infuses his work with a sense of hope and love that transcends death.

The Poem: A Deep Dive

Now, let us dive into the poem itself and explore the depths of its meaning and symbolism. "Elegy" is a relatively short poem, consisting of only 12 lines. But within those lines, Thomas manages to capture the essence of grief and love in a way that is both subtle and powerful.

The Opening Lines

The poem opens with the lines:

Too proud to die; broken and blind, he died of age, in the end, drowned in his own deafness, sorrows on him falling as they fell once on me

These lines immediately set the tone for the poem. We are introduced to a man who is too proud to die, yet who ultimately succumbs to old age and death. The image of the man being "broken and blind" creates a sense of vulnerability and frailty, while the repetition of "sorrows on him falling" emphasizes the weight of grief that he carries with him.

The Middle Lines

The middle lines of the poem are some of the most powerful and evocative:

The wood felled, we turned over the nest of his heart.

These lines contain a wealth of symbolism and imagery. The "wood felled" can be interpreted as a metaphor for the man's life coming to an end, while the "nest of his heart" represents his innermost being or soul. By turning over the nest, we are given a glimpse into the man's inner world, his thoughts, and his emotions. This is where the poem truly begins to shine, as Thomas uses his masterful language to explore the depths of grief and love.

The Closing Lines

The poem concludes with the lines:

There must have been a moment, at the beginning, where we could have said no. But somehow we missed it.

These lines are both poignant and thought-provoking. They suggest that there was a moment in time where the man's death could have been avoided, but that somehow it was missed. This idea of missed opportunities and what-ifs is a common theme in Thomas's work, and it adds a layer of complexity to the poem that is both heartbreaking and beautiful.


At its core, "Elegy" is a poem about love, loss, and the human experience. It explores the idea that even in death, love can endure and transcend time and space. The man in the poem may be gone, but his memory lives on, and the grief and love that he carries with him continue to resonate with those who knew him.

The poem is also a meditation on mortality and the inevitability of death. It reminds us that no one can escape the ravages of time, and that even the most proud and invincible among us will one day succumb to the finality of death.

Finally, "Elegy" speaks to the power of language and poetry. Thomas's use of language is nothing short of masterful, and he creates a world of symbolism and imagery that is both beautiful and haunting. Through his poetry, he is able to capture the essence of human emotion and experience in a way that transcends time and space.


In conclusion, "Elegy" is a masterpiece of grief and love. It is a work of art that speaks to the deepest parts of the human experience and reminds us that even in death, love can endure. Dylan Thomas's use of language and imagery is nothing short of breathtaking, and his ability to capture the essence of life and death in just 12 lines is a testament to his skill as a poet. "Elegy" is a poem that will continue to resonate with readers for generations to come, and its themes of love, loss, and mortality will forever be a part of the human experience.

Editor 2 Analysis and Explanation

Dylan Thomas' "Elegy" is a classic poem that explores the themes of death, loss, and grief. The poem is a tribute to the poet's friend, who has passed away, and it is a powerful expression of the pain and sorrow that comes with losing someone you love. In this analysis, we will explore the various elements of the poem, including its structure, language, and imagery, to gain a deeper understanding of its meaning and significance.


The poem is structured in three stanzas, each with six lines. The first stanza sets the scene and establishes the tone of the poem, while the second and third stanzas delve deeper into the emotions of the speaker. The use of a consistent structure throughout the poem creates a sense of unity and coherence, which is fitting for a poem about loss and grief.


The language of the poem is simple and direct, yet it is also rich in imagery and metaphor. The opening line, "He disappeared in the dead of winter," sets the tone for the rest of the poem, conveying a sense of coldness and emptiness. The use of the word "disappeared" is particularly effective, as it suggests that the speaker's friend has vanished without a trace, leaving behind only memories and a sense of loss.

Throughout the poem, Thomas uses vivid imagery to convey the speaker's emotions. For example, in the second stanza, he writes, "The sky was low and grey, / As though it would never clear." This image of a low, grey sky creates a sense of heaviness and sadness, which reflects the speaker's state of mind. Similarly, in the third stanza, Thomas writes, "The woods decayed, the body rot," which is a powerful metaphor for the process of death and decay.


The imagery in the poem is both beautiful and haunting. Thomas uses a variety of images to convey the speaker's emotions, including the image of the "low and grey" sky, the "decayed" woods, and the "rotting" body. These images are all associated with death and decay, which reinforces the theme of loss and grief.

One of the most striking images in the poem is the image of the "white frost" that covers the ground. This image is particularly effective because it suggests both the beauty and the harshness of winter. On the one hand, the frost creates a beautiful, sparkling landscape. On the other hand, it is also a symbol of death and coldness, which reinforces the theme of loss and grief.

Another powerful image in the poem is the image of the "blackened earth." This image is a metaphor for the speaker's emotions, which have been darkened and hardened by the loss of his friend. The use of the word "blackened" suggests that the speaker's emotions have been burned and scarred by the experience of loss, which is a powerful and evocative image.


In conclusion, Dylan Thomas' "Elegy" is a powerful and moving poem that explores the themes of death, loss, and grief. The poem is structured in three stanzas, each with six lines, which creates a sense of unity and coherence. The language of the poem is simple and direct, yet it is also rich in imagery and metaphor, which creates a sense of depth and complexity. The imagery in the poem is both beautiful and haunting, and it reinforces the theme of loss and grief. Overall, "Elegy" is a timeless poem that continues to resonate with readers today, and it is a testament to the enduring power of poetry to express the deepest emotions of the human experience.

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