Select Page

I have been losing myself in poetry recently, going back to some of my favourite poems from earlier times, sinking into the words and seeing them through my increasingly older eyes.

Last night, I read “The force that through the green fuse drives the flower” by Dylan Thomas, published in “18 Poems” in 1934, shared below.

I first read this in high school, and I see now that our English teacher took a rather narrow route through the poet’s pulsing prose! At that time, I interpreted the poem as the narrator seeing the forces of nature through his masculinity — seeing it all through the filter of raging blood, powerful waters, driven forces, and ultimately “us vs. them”. The narrator seemed separate from nature, perhaps powerless against a much greater power. Just reading it exhausted me then!

Today I read the poem somewhat differently, and maybe tomorrow I’ll see it in yet another light. Reading it now, when we are approaching the midpoint between Imbolg and Spring Equinox, his words and imagery take on a new meaning for me. Here in my locale, we are in the “greening time”. The creative forces of rising energy ignited by the fire and light of Solstice are the “green fuse (which) drives the flower” as the snow drops and other plants emerge from the compost forming from the fallen leaves of autumn and the dried fallen pine needles atop the soil (life emerging from death), whilst the evergreens sprout their chartreuse tips, animals and their offspring emerge from torpor or hibernation, and as flying above are the Canada geese honking their return from their winter homes.

The forces of nature can be paradoxical and complementary: creative and destructive, beginning and ending, chaotic and ordered.  And I see them all around me now at this time of transition and growth. I look at the poem now as one man’s constant struggle with the duality found in nature, in the complementary energies of both the Divine Masculine and the Divine Feminine, and within the Self. And perhaps we mirror that duality when we experience a struggle, an incongruity, between our Self and nature, and between our inner world (our authentic Self) and that which we share to the outer world.

But unlike the narrator, who struggles and perhaps combats those forces, my way of being is to find my way through the chaos and paradox and transformation by acknowledging it, embracing it rather than being defeated by it, aligning with it rather than fighting it. I must be in Right Relationship with duality, and all my parts. I must flow with it, and not become “wax” or “quicksand” or “dumb” in the words of Dylan Thomas.

I must align with that green fuse and let my own Spring emerge from within. 

I share with you now the words of Dylan Thomas.

The force that through the green fuse drives the flower
Dylan Thomas, 1914-1953

The force that drives the water through the rocks
Drives my red blood; that dries the mouthing streams
Turns mine to wax.
And I am dumb to mouth unto my veins
How at the mountain spring the same mouth sucks.

The hand that whirls the water in the pool
Stirs the quicksand; that ropes the blowing wind
Hauls my shroud sail.
And I am dumb to tell the hanging man
How of my clay is made the hangman's lime.

The lips of time leech to the fountain head;
Love drips and gathers, but the fallen blood
Shall calm her sores.
And I am dumb to tell a weather's wind
How time has ticked a heaven round the stars.

And I am dumb to tell the lover's tomb
How at my sheet goes the same crooked worm.

How does your greening, your Spring, emerge?

%d bloggers like this: