Wednesday, 9 July 2014

And so it was

This is one of the poems I was prompted to write by events being held around the Dylan Thomas Centenary, which was celebrated to the full in south and west Wales through 2014.

I had the chance to read this at a spoken word event at the Dylan Thomas Boathouse in Laugharne, which was organised by poet in residence Samantha Wynne-Rhydderch.

This was the place where Dylan and Caitlin spent several years of their marriage, and while the celebrations of Dylan’s life were shouting loud, I decided to look sideways and take a look at Caitlin’s story. 

*Warning: contains strong language.

And so it was

We boozed and we fucked our way
through the sixteen years
we called our marriage.
Fuelled by alcohol,
with oaths and curses and infidelity;
            we’d have fallen down
            without the drink,
so we would.

We fell into bed that first day.
Always lovin and fightin,
drinkin and fuckin
            our lives were raw, red
            bleeding meat;
with booze, words,
poems, stories, and  sex - and kids.

            What’ll the neighbours say, you wrote,
            what’ll the neighbours say.
            What he’ll do for drink,
            falling in the gutter.

That’s what they said.

You were a hopeless bloody father,
you drank all the money.
            No Good Boyo,
so you were.

And you fucked all the shameless women.
I could’ve killed you,
I wanted to kill you.
I banged your head on the floor,
again and again.
            It was all our own hopeless war.

I wanted to be worse than you.
I loved the wine and the men,
the wantonness, and more and more.
I had my revenge,
so I did.

And when you died, my struggle was over.
It was a relief, at first,
so it was.

Then I found my leftover life
and I had that to kill.
            The sky is torn across, you wrote,
            Now our love lies a loss,
and so it does.

*With words from Under Milk Wood and On a Wedding Anniversary, by Dylan Thomas and words of Caitlin Thomas from an interview with Vincent Kane, ‘The Leftover Wife’: