Soundtrack Of A Photograph, The Christmas Editions, Part 16

Recitation-A Child’s Christmas In Wales

Author-Dylan Thomas

 

In seeking inspiration for today’s blog, I looked to the myriad of Christmas ornaments on our tree and began taking some close up shots of them. There are glass ornaments and Santa’s, snowmen and reindeer. There are hand-crafted ones,  and mass produced ones together with ones  that act as mementos from various places my wife and I have visited over the years. Perched towards the top of the tree this year, and safely tucked in a ways is a little porcelain miniature of Dickens Old Curiosity Shop. This got me thinking about the importance of books and stories this time of year. Charles Dickens of course looms large in any discussion of Christmas literature, but so do some others. For children’s stories there is of course Clement C. Moore’s  ‘Twas The Night Before Christmas, How The Grinch Stole Christmas by Dr. Seuss, The Polar Express by Chris Van Allsburg to name but a few. For the grown-ups there are stories such as  The Gift Of The Magi by O. Henry, A Christmas Story by Jean Shepherd, and my own personal favorite, A Child’s Christmas In Wales by Dylan Thomas.

For a moment this morning, I hesitated about doing a blog that was not about a song paired with a photo, but was instead a recitation of a short story. But then I realized that Dylan Thomas reading A Child’s Christmas In Wales himself has been a Christmas tradition for my wife and I for several years now and is as much a part of our world as say, Bing Crosby singing White Christmas.  Spoken word or storytelling can be closely related to songs in many ways and I realized that it is possible for them to have their own photo or soundtrack to go along with them. In fact I suddenly realized there may be an entirely new avenue this blog can go down as a result of this revelation. But that will be for future exploration.

I have only been to Wales once myself, and that was in late September 24 years ago, so the handful of photographs I took on a sketchy camera all those years ago will not really fit a Christmas in Wales theme. But I urge you to go and check the work of a friend of mine from Wales, the extremely talented Andy Leslie where you will find some amazing photos from all over the Welsh countryside so as not to feel deprived-http://andyleslie.com/  or  https://www.facebook.com/AndyLesliePhotography Like some of the Christmas songs I have written about here, Dylan Thomas’ story has elements of a mutual sort of childhood memories to our own, but in his unique and clever way of writing and reciting them, he makes those memories very much his own. Of course it starts off with the wonderful lines of not being able to remember whether it had snowed for six days and six nights when he was twelve, or twelve days and twelve nights when he was six. It continues on with tales of cats and snowballs in snow swept Hudson Bay (by way of Mumbles Road), the Prothero’s,  the fire brigade, postmen, presents, uncles, Mr Daniel (who looked like a spaniel), ghosts and then some carols. It is a marvelous story, balancing the line between nostalgia and laughter. Hearing the booming baritone of Dylan Thomas reciting it himself is such a simple joy this time of year. Like many people must do, my wife and I sit on the couch near the Christmas tree, the only lights in the room coming from the tree, reveling in Thomas’ eloquent prose with lines like “the two tongued sea” or “bat-blacked, snow white belfries”, speaking not a word to each other, save for the occasional chuckle. So with one photograph of a little ornament from our Christmas tree I have a reminder of the wonderful stories we enjoy at this time of year, which I enjoy just as much as the songs we play at this time of year, and a Child’s Christmas In Wales is a worthy addition to Soundtrack Of A Photograph.

 

A Child’s Christmas In Wales-Written By Dylan Thomas.

All photographs by Robert P Doyle All images in this blog are available in limited supply for purchase as unframed prints. Sizes may vary. Contact via robpatdoy@hotmail.com for details.

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