Postcard from Laugharne, (Home to Dylan Thomas) Wales

Any excuse and I find myself being drawn towards the beautiful small coastal town of Laugharne which is of course synonymous with Dylan Thomas. To-day, on International Dylan Thomas Day, what better place to be than to stroll along the ‘Birthday Walk’ which follows the tracks that Dylan took early on the morning of his thirtieth birthday, as depicted in ‘Poem in October’

‘My birthday began with the water-
Birds and the birds of the winged trees flying my name
Above the farms and the white horses
And I rose
In a rainy autumn
And walked abroad in shower of all my days
High tide and the heron dived when I took the road
Over the border
And the gates
Of the town closed as the town awoke’

Dylan had first set foot in Laugharne at age nineteen and over the next twenty years he would return again and again. He lived there for many periods during this time and for the last four years of his life he resided at the Boathouse, situated on the shoreline with its magnificent views over the estuary. Thus, Laugharne played a major part in both his life and his work. It is of little wonder to me. Perhaps I am biased but the combination of his talents and the inspirational setting produced, as far as I am concerned, the greatest body of work ever written! Like his ‘Poem in October’, many were relatable to Laugharne itself. Not least ‘Under Milk Wood’ as Laugharne is regarded as the inspiration for the fictional town of Llareggub.

‘It is spring, moonless night in the small town, starless and bible black, the cobble streets silent and the hunched, courters’-and-rabbits’ wood limping invisible down to the shoeblack, slow, black, crow black, fishingboatbobbing sea. The houses are blind as moles (though moles see fine to-night in the snouting, velvet dingles) or blind as Captain Cat there in the muffled middle by the pump and the town clock, the shops in mourning, the Welfare Hall in widows’ weeds. And all the people of the lulled and dumbfound town are sleeping now.’

Laugharne is a lovely place to visit. It is breathtakingly beautiful and oozes peacefulness, a sense of well-being and calm. With plenty of walking opportunities, it sits on the Welsh Coastal Path, you can make your time here as active as you wish. Perhaps explore the Castle, established in 1116 by the invading Normans which protectively dominates the town. Or simply sit on the many benches and read and reflect on the works of the omnipresent Dylan Thomas. But beware, as the Great Poet once wrote of Laugharne:

‘I like myself, just came, one day, for the day, and never left; got off the bus, and forgot to get on again.’