Remembering Welsh Poet Idris Davies - The Dreamer - "In the Mountain Dusk the Dream was Born"
Heres a virtual movie of the celebrated
Welsh Coal miner poet Idris Davies reading"The Dreamer" This poem was first
published in his 1938 collection of poems Gwalia Deserta (literally in English
means "The Leaving of Wales"
Davies's self-division in Gwalia Deserta, as
elsewhere in his work, is no better dramatized than in his attitude to "dream".
"Dream", "dreaming", "dreamer" constitute one of the most important groups of
words in his verse; of the thirty-six poems in the sequence, fifteen employ one
or more of its variants.
We've already encountered one example: "It is
bitter to know that all his dreams / Are roses that die to nourish the weeds..."
Here the poet's attitude to dreams is ambiguous: their identification with roses
suggests that they are both natural and beautiful: yet at the same time they're
ineffectual, living and dying only to have their substance utilized by growths
that are neither useful nor beautiful. Let us ask, then, what Davies means by
He never defines the concept clearly,
but I think we
can identify it as the realisation of socialist aspiration through the creation
of a society in which men and women are economically and socially equal, a
society in which justice can everywhere and at all times be seen to be
dispensed, a society in which individual men and women can develop their talents
and capacities to the full and, whatever the nature of their work, can hold up
their heads with pride.
Typically Davies's narrator wanders away from
the mining town into the mountains, where, in the clean air, listening to
lark-song, he experiences a Wordsworthian exultancy:
Idris Davies (born 6
January 1905 Rhymney, died April 6th 1953), was a Welsh poet, originally writing
in Welsh, but later writing exclusively in English. He was the only poet to
cover significant events in the early 20th century in the South Wales Valleys
and the South Wales coalfield, and from a perspective literally at the coalface.
He is now best known for the poem Bells of Rhymney, He qualified as a teacher
through courses at Loughborough College and the University of
He took teaching posts in London during the Second World War,
and then Wales, returning to the Rhymney Valley  in 1947. His second
collection of poems was taken by T. S. Eliot for Faber and Faber (1945). Idris
Davies died from abdominal cancer in 1953, aged 48.
There in the dusk the dreamer dreamed
lands, and love unhampered
By the callous economics of a
Whose god is Mammon.
There in the mountain dusk the dream
The spirit fired, and the calm disturbed
By the just
anger of the blood.
Wilder than the politician's yellow tongue
stronger than the demagogue's thunder,
The insistent language of the
dream would ring
Through the dear and secret places of the soul.
fresher than the April torrent, the words of indignation
themselves with beauty, and be heard
Among the far undying echoes of the
And slowly the west would lose its crimson curves,
larks descend, the hidden plover cry,
And the vast night would darken all
All rights are reserved on this video
recording copyright Jim Clark 2011. Edited Text also from Jim
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