Sunday, December 20, 2009

A Child's Christmas in Wales

Illustration by Edward Ardizzone

One Christmas was so much like another, in those years around the sea-town corner now and out of all sound except the distant speaking of the voices I sometimes hear a moment before sleep, that I can never remember whether it snowed for six days and six nights when I was twelve or whether it snowed for twelve days and twelve nights when I was six. 

Photo from A Child's Christmas in Wales, 1963, 
a film produced and directed by Marvin Lightner, 
presenting Dylan Thomas's story, 
including a recording of the poet's voice reading the tale.

Always on Christmas night there was music. An uncle played the fiddle, a cousin sang "Cherry Ripe," and another uncle sang "Drake's Drum." It was very warm in the little house. Auntie Hannah, who had got on to the parsnip wine, sang a song about Bleeding Hearts and Death, and then another in which she said her heart was like a Bird's Nest; and then everybody laughed again; and then I went to bed. Looking through my bedroom window, out into the moonlight and the unending smoke-colored snow, I could see the lights in the windows of all the other houses on our hill and hear the music rising from them up the long, steady falling night. I turned the gas down, I got into bed. I said some words to the close and holy darkness, and then I slept. 

Above are two excerpts (the beginning and ending) from A Child's Christmas in Wales by Dylan Thomas, one of the most beautiful pieces of writing I know.  We read it aloud today while the storm that slammed the whole East Coast of the US raged outside.  Tonight is clear, cold, and bright.  Thinking of you all and wishing you joy and peace this season.    


  1. Oh that is just so moving, I just love it. Thank you darling Gigi for posting it.

    It sounds so fierce were you are, what memories you will have.

    peace and love to you,

  2. Dear GiGi,
    Snuggle up and have sweet dreams.
    I got that book this April. It was written
    very well.

  3. I have had that book for years, Gigi. It has always been a favourite in schools here.
    Wonderfully descriptive and so beautifully written. XXXX

  4. You are so right. Some of the most beautiful words in the English language. Holy, holy, holy ring the bells.
    Every Christmas Eve, the last thing my husband and I do before we trundle off to bed is curl up by the fire and watch the version of Child's Christmas with Denholm Elliot. Do you know that one? Sublime.

    Thinking of you in All That Snow!!

  5. That is so beautiful, Gigi. Thank you so much for sharing that - it's wonderful! Sending peace, joy, love, laughter & warm hugs to you! xxoo

  6. Hmmm. This was on tv last night, but I was doing other things and wasn't paying much attention. Now I wish I had. I didn't know it was a book of beautiful words.

    I came by to wish you the most magical and delightful of Christmases, dear Gigi. I am so glad I discovered you this year, and I am looking forward to following your beautiful words throughout the coming year.
    Much love and peace to you and yours. xoxoxo

  7. Reading aloud is the perfect storm activity don't you think? What a lovely post!

    Listening to the news of all the snow today, my thought immediately turned to you.

    Thinking of you and wishing you a wonderful Christmas.


  8. So gorgeous - I just love Dylan Thomas! I hope you have a wonderful Christmas Gigi - I've really enjoyed all your beautiful and inspirational posts and am looking forward to many more next year. Take care and enjoy the snow. Leigh

  9. We read this story yesterday in front of the fire. Such a delightful Christmas story, and a new one for me. Wishing you a joyous holiday!

  10. a beautiful posting - i need to read the book.

    stay warm and safe.

  11. A Child's Christmas in Wales is my all time favorite Christmas read. And I love the filmatization of the story from 1987 starring Denholm's pure holiday magic! Our flight to the USA was cancelled due to bad snowy weather on the east coast... so we are waiting for a new flight on Wednesday... Stopping by to say hi while we wait...LOL! Happy Holidays, Gigi!

  12. Beautiful words...."her heart was like a bird's nest"
    Hope the snow was not too hard on you!
    Take care friend,

  13. You lead me to such beauty, my friend. Yes indeed, you always do.

  14. So pretty! I absolutely love Edward Ardizzone - he's one of my favorite illustrators.

  15. I was watching Christmas around the world on tv recently...always so fascinating to learn other cultures~ Nightie night Gigi, off to bed now!

  16. oh this is so heart warming! gigi is my sister's nickname. that is so sweet.

  17. beautiful! I love your new blog banner. happy joy joy!

  18. What a beautiful feeling you describe. Thank you and I hope you have a wonderful Christmas!!

  19. Dear Gigi,

    I just stopped by to wish you a wonderful Christmas with lots of joyous moments. I look forward to the days to come when it will be more time to relax and spend time with my family and friends after a cuite hectic period. And hopefully have time to stop by my favorite blogs (like yours) to get an update on the last week :-)

    Thank you so much for your lovely comments on the last post, and earlier. I really appreciate having discovered your wonderful blog too.

    Warm wishes.

  20. Oh I do love Edward Ardizzone's illustrations. Every year I think I need to read A Child's Christmas in Wales and it always gets edged out by another reading of A Christmas Carol. Maybe I can this year. Lovely, lovely quotes.

  21. hope you have a lovely xmas and new years gigi!

    thanks for all your support, visits to our little blog and lovely comments too,

    see you in 2010,

    sammy and glenn

  22. Have a very happy Christmas Gigi!
    Sarah x

  23. I too, adore this tale. Hope you are having a delightful holiday! love & peace, GG


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