How Shall My Animal – Dylan Thomas

How shall my animal

Whose wizard shape I trace in the cavernous skull,

Vessel of abscesses and exultation’s shell,

Endure burial under the spelling wall,

The invoked, shrouding veil at the cap of the face,

Who should be furious,

Drunk as a vineyard snail, flailed like an octopus,

Roaring, crawling, quarrel

With the outside weathers,

The natural circle of the discovered skies

Draw down to its weird eyes?
How shall it magnetize,

Towards the studded male in a bent, midnight blaze

That melts the lionhead’s heel and horseshoe of the heart

A brute land in the cool top of the country days

To trot with a loud mate the haybeds of a mile,

Love and labour and kill

In quick, sweet, cruel light till the locked ground sprout

The black, burst sea rejoice,

The bowels turn turtle,

Claw of the crabbed veins squeeze from each red particle

The parched and raging voice?
Fishermen of mermen

Creep and harp on the tide, sinking their charmed, bent pin

With bridebait of gold bread, I with a living skein,

Tongue and ear in the thread, angle the temple-bound

Curl-locked and animal cavepools of spells and bone,

Trace out a tentacle,

Nailed with an open eye, in the bowl of wounds and weed

To clasp my fury on ground

And clap its great blood down;

Never shall beast be born to atlas the few seas

Or poise the day on a horn.
Sigh long, clay cold, lie shorn,

Cast high, stunned on gilled stone; sly scissors ground in frost

Clack through the thicket of strength, love hewn in pillars drops

With carved bird, saint, and suns the wrackspiked maiden mouth

Lops, as a bush plumed with flames, the rant of the fierce eye,

Clips short the gesture of breath.

Die in red feathers when the flying heaven’s cut,

And roll with the knocked earth:

Lie dry, rest robbed, my beast.

You have kicked from a dark den, leaped up the whinnying light,

And dug your grave in my breast. 

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