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
sloeback, slow, black, crowblack,
fishingboat-bobbing sea.

Dylan Thomas Under Milkwood 1954 (Narrator’s introduction)

I was attracted to this poem initially because of “Starless and Bible Black” — which is the title of a King Crimson album — and I loved the phrase’s imagery, starless black and also “Bible black” — which is clever as it invokes a black bound bible, but black is usually associated with evil, and white with good, making a bible black a good play on words.  But — Oh — just look at the wonderful poem here — sloeback, slow black crowblack — it’s fabulous!  Like James Joyce on steroids! Class!



  1. davedevine Says:

    Sometimes if you listen you can hear poetry in normal speech. I once heard a radio sports reporter say: “He was a second faster than the second fastest” — which I loved.

    More recently, I heard a Fox TV interview regarding the Badu Dallas naked video fuss in which the woman being interviewed mentioned teenagers’ “wooden stairs”. It took me a minute or two to realise that she meant “Wooden stares”. Bet Dylan Thomas would have enjoyed these.

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