‘Under Milk Wood’ – If only all homework projects were as enjoyable as this.
Last week, my daughter asked for some help with her latest homework project. She had to write about the life and work of Dylan Thomas, and as I went off into a whirl about his poetry, his genius for painting with words, his short life, growing up in Swansea and later settling in Laugharne, which is fairly close to where we live, I think she was having second thoughts!
We dug out her copy of ‘A Child’s Christmas in Wales’ and I showed her the postcard of his writing shed with it’s views over the estuary, that’s pinned to our kitchen door, and we looked at some of his poetry together.
Then, thanks to the wonders of Youtube, we watched the classic adaptation of ‘Under Milk Wood’ with Richard Burton and Elizabeth Taylor, filmed locally in Lower Fishguard. It’s been years since I’ve seen it, so it was a real treat to enjoy it once again. I did wonder whether my daughter might get bored at some point but she loved it, her eyes widening in awe when I pointed out that Dylan Thomas actually named the village in ‘Under Milk Wood’ Llareggub, because it spells ‘bugger all’ backwards. I’ve put a link below so you can enjoy it too – it’s a masterpiece, and so funny!
As her project had to be written in Welsh, that was where my involvement ended. It’s finished and has been handed in now, but we’re planning a trip to Laugharne in the next week or two to visit Dylan Thomas’ boathouse and writing shed. I also got her a copy of the ‘Under Milk Wood’ text as a little extra birthday present as Thomas doesn’t just write the most vividly evocative prose on the planet, but he has so keenly observed a certain ‘Welshness’ and distilled something of the small tight-knit community that is still very much alive here today, reading it feels very close to home.