Dylan Thomas




Pillar Breaks

Pillar breaks, and mast is cleft
Now that the temple’s trumpeter
Has stopped, (angel, you’re proud),
And gallantly (water, you’re strong—
You batter back my feet),
Boat cannot go.

The raven’s fallen and the magpie’s still.
Silly to cage and then set free,
You loose, delicious will
That teaches me to wait,
Whose minute kindles more than the wise hour.
Temple should never have been filled
With ravens beating on the roof:
One day they had to fly,
And, there, what wings they had,
Poor, broken webs to strike the sky!
It was the magpie, after,
Bird on the mast, (he contemplated),
Who flew himself because the boat remained
Unmoving in a shouldering sea,
Flew for a time in vain, to drop at last
And catch the uprising wave.

Pity is not enough:
Temple’s broken and poor raven’s dead;
Build from the ashes!
Boat’s broken, too, and magpie’s still;
Build, build again!