“The Force That Through the Green Fuse Drives the Flower” is a powerful, moody Dylan Thomas poem from his first book of poetry, 18 Poems, published a month after turning twenty years old. It is about the creative force of nature, creative destruction, disruption, and how we human animals are but another manifestation of “nature,” not separate or apart from it.
The Force That Through the Green Fuse Drives the Flower
The force that through the green fuse drives the flower
Drives my green age; that blasts the roots of trees
Is my destroyer.
And I am dumb to tell the crooked rose
My youth is bent by the same wintry fever.
The force that drives the water through the rocks
Drives my red blood; that dries the mouthing streams
Turns mine to wax.
And I am dumb to mouth unto my veins
How at the mountain spring the same mouth sucks.
The hand that whirls the water in the pool
Stirs the quicksand; that ropes the blowing wind
Hauls my shroud sail.
And I am dumb to tell the hanging man
How of my clay is made the hangman’s lime.
The lips of time leech to the fountain head;
Love drips and gathers, but the fallen blood
Shall calm her sores.
And I am dumb to tell a weather’s wind
How time has ticked a heaven round the stars.
And I am dumb to tell the lover’s tomb
How at my sheet goes the same crooked worm.
The green fuse blasts the crooked rose with wintry fever. Through the rocks the mouthing streams stir the quicksand. Beyond the weather’s wind, the lips of time have ticked a heaven round the stars. Beautiful. Make and remake the poem in your mind. Live the poem. Let the words lead you to other words and beyond words.
Here’s Thomas reading the poem:
Thanks to Brian Phipps (@brandstrat) for quoting this poem on Twitter.