in pitch darkness at the point of death. He was rushed to hospital where he died within an hour. While we waited for an ambulance he fainted and knocked out the oil lamp – he had refused electricity – but recovered and was perfectly sensible when it arrived’ (Poetry and Experience).
‘Hunt’s Bay’ (1952) ‘Hunt’s Bay is about a mile from my home. It is one of the rockiest bays on the coast, a crescent, or, at low tide, a dark half-moon of rocks, bounded on either side by steep cliffs and jutting boulders of whitish rock’ (‘Introduction to Three Ballads’).
‘Trust Darkness’ (August – December 1953) Begun shortly before Dylan Thomas’s final trip to America in November 1953; finished shortly afterwards.
‘The Exacting Ghost’ (1955) The poem describes ‘the effect on Vernon of a dream about Dylan which came to him in, I think, February or early March of 1954… It caused him great uneasiness, because, unlike most dreams, it had a quality of extreme reality. Every outline appeared solid… He even saw a small mole on the side of the jaw which he did not remember having seen in Dylan’s life-time… he was never able to decide whether this was an unusually vivid dream or an actual visit from the dead’ (Dylan Thomas: Portrait of a Friend, Gwen Watkins, p.166).
‘The Curlew’ (1956) Originally formed part of one of Watkins’s earliest elegies for Dylan Thomas, ‘Elegy for the Latest Dead’ (1954).
‘The Tributary Seasons’ (1955) This poem won the first Guinness Prize in 1957.
Affinities (1962) Affinities contains poems completed between 1950 and 1961. Many, though by no means all, of its poems are about poetry and other poets, offering a glimpse into Watkins’s own creative processes and sources.
New Selected Poems
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