A Poet’s Dreams, Wants and Needs

And to begin, I want to believe in dragons, not the windy, tank-like creature who quarrelled with St. George, but the vast and fiery legend, bearing half a planet on its shoulders, with hell in its nostrils and heaven in its scales, with a comet in the steaming socket of its eyes, with a couple of dragon-lets at its side, with a grandmother at home, knitting unbelievably large socks and finding counties in her hair.

I want to imagine a new colour, so much whiter than white that white is black.

I want to forget all that I have ever written and start again, informed with a new wonder, empty of all my old dreariness, and rid of the sophistication which is disease. How can I ever lie on my belly on the floor, turning a narrow thought over and over again on the tip of my tongue, crying in my wordy wildnerness, mean of spirit, brooding over the death of my finger which lies straight in front of me? How can I, when I have news to scream up to heaven, and when heaven has news to scream down to me? I want to read the headlines in the sky: birth of a star, death of a comet. I want to believe, to believe for ever, that heaven is a being, and the only hell is the hell of myself. I want to burn hell with its own flames.

No, but my wants are not all cloudy as that; I want to live and love and be loved; I want to praise and be praised; I want to sleep and wake, and look upon my sleeping as only another waking; I want to live and die.

Dylan Thomas in a letter to Pamela Hansford Johnson.
Christmas Day, 1933.


About handshedown

Keighley Perkins is a Cardiff-based poet whose influences include Anis Mojgani, Selima Hill and Richard Brautigan. Her work has previously been published in "Acumen", "Elbow Room", "Erbacce", "Fire", "Northwind" and "Obsessed with Pipework". She can also be found online on Twitter at @handshedown. View all posts by handshedown

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