Carrying on with the theme:
(Poem #1035) The Hand That Signed The Paper
The hand that signed the paper felled a city; Five sovereign fingers taxed the breath, Doubled the globe of dead and halved a country; These five kings did a king to death. The mighty hand leads to a sloping shoulder, The finger joints are cramped with chalk; A goose's quill has put an end to murder That put an end to talk. The hand that signed the treaty bred a fever, And famine grew, and locusts came; Great is the hand that holds dominion over Man by a scribbled name. The five kings count the dead but do not soften The crusted wound nor pat the brow; A hand rules pity as a hand rules heaven; Hands have no tears to flow.
From "Twenty Five Poems", 1936. I've always liked the density of Dylan Thomas' work. His early and middle-period poems are wonderfully impenetrable masses of high-flown rhetoric: pretentious, perhaps, in their almost wilful obfuscation, but also possessed of an undeniable power . His later poems are air and fire to his original earth and water; while equally dense in their use of allusion and illusion, they trip lightly off the tongue, beguiling the senses while stirring the heart . Unfortunately, today's poem falls in neither category, and I have to confess that it's not one of my favourites. There are occasions when simplicity is power, but there are also times when it betokens, well, a lack of depth. There's nothing _technically_ wrong with "The Hand That Signed The Paper"; the basic conceit is well thought of and well executed (if not terribly original); the verse is straightforward and competent. But it remains just that - verse: great poetry it isn't. Or is that just me? thomas.  The "Altarwise by Owl-light" sonnet sequence is a stunning example: I love the poems, but I haven't the faintest idea what they mean. See Poem #405 on the Minstrels website.  "Fern Hill", "Poem in October" and "After the Funeral" come to mind. [Minstrels Links] Dylan Thomas: Poem #14, Prologue Poem #38, Do Not Go Gentle Into That Good Night Poem #58, The Force that Through the Green Fuse Drives the Flower Poem #138, Fern Hill Poem #225, Poem In October Poem #270, Under Milk Wood Poem #335, After the Funeral (In memory of Ann Jones) Poem #405, Altarwise by Owl-Light (Stanzas I - IV) Poem #476, In my craft or sullen art Poem #568, Especially when the October Wind