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

By H. H. Kleinman | Go to book overview

10
Sonnet X

For though through many straits, and lands I roame, I launch at paradise, and I sail toward home; John Donne, "The Progress of the Soul"

Then the most beloved Son of God, Christ, descending on earth shall lead thy father Adam to Paradise to the tree of mercy.

The Books of Adam and Eve (in the Pseudepigrapha) 42:5

WHETHER THOMAS meant the tenth sonnet to be a temporary pause or a full stop, we cannot know. He himself, as we have seen, described the religious sonnets as the "first passage of. . . a very long poem"; and a note in Twenty-five Poems described the sonnets as a poem which "contains the first ten sections of a work in progress."1 The tenth sonnet takes us beyond the narrative content of the first nine sonnets in the same way that the books of the Acts of the Apostles and Revelation take us beyond the narrative theme of the synoptic Gospels.

There is a suspension of the laws of nature and of syntax in the tenth sonnet. Ubiquitous pronouns lurk mysteriously with no antecedents to give them ancestry; yet subjects seem to belong to verbs, and possessive pronouns are attracted to nouns. Bodies of water are unreal; yet they are defined Hydrographically as bay, chan

-119-

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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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