The Religious Sonnets of Dylan Thomas: A Study in Imagery and Meaning

By H. H. Kleinman | Go to book overview

7
Sonnet VII

Our Father who art in heaven. . .
Matthew 6:9
Always pray to a tree, said the gardener,
thinking of Calvary and Eden.
Dylan Thomas, "The Tree"

AFTER THE COSMIC ERUPTION and Adam's noisy lechery in the medusa-crowded sea, after the mutilation of eye and tongue, after the blood gauze and deadweed, there is a very brief calm in the turbulence of the poem. The calm is perfectly timed, for it comes between the primal birth in the sixth sonnet and the Crucifixion in the eighth.

Here, as in all the sonnets of this sequence, the sestet precedes the octave, but with this difference: the event in the eight lines below produces the effect in the six lines above. The sestet is composed mainly of vegetation imagery: rice grain, leaves, woods, trees, root; the element is the earth. In the octave the element in the first four lines is water, where the shapeless thing born and mutilated in the sixth sonnet, now described as a sponge, is suckled at the musical teats of the bagpipebreasted ladies. The fifth line contains a transition from the scene of primordial maternal figures to the Nativity scene in Bethlehem. The fourth repetition of "time"

-85-

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The Religious Sonnets of Dylan Thomas: A Study in Imagery and Meaning
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page iii
  • Preface vii
  • Acknowledgments xi
  • Contents *
  • Introduction 1
  • 1 - Sonnet I 12
  • 2 - Sonnet II 23
  • 3 - Sonnet III 32
  • 4 - Sonnet IV 44
  • 5 - Sonnet V 54
  • 6 - Sonnet VI 74
  • 7 - Sonnet VII 85
  • 8 - Sonnet VIII 94
  • 9 - Sonnet IX 102
  • 10 - Sonnet X 119
  • Notes 131
  • Bibliography 147
  • Index 149
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