This poem by Dylan Thomas has a remarkable rhythmic movement. This is neither free-verse nor does it make use of a regular meter. The meter is quite purposeful and underscores the movement of thought. The rhythm matches the importance of the words. The rhythm also matches the speed of reading. Each word hurries or slows the progress of the argument.
The poem is also interesting in that speaks of what makes a thing real; more particularly, is an imagination, an abstraction real? If it is tangible that makes an image real, what of the fact that tangible images can “trickle away”. And what is it for a stone to trickle away “through thought”.
Like all good Thomas poems, the words take a great deal of thinking. He writes more in riddles, and delights in the sounds of words. I don’t know anyone who plays this wordgame as well or as successfully as Dylan Thomas.
To get the full effect, the poem must be spoken – not read. The words are script, not an essay.
ConCEIVE these IMages in the AIR
WRAP them in FLAME, they’re MINE;
SET against GRANite,
Let the TWO dull STONES be GREY,
Or, FORMED of SAND,
TRICKle aWAY through THOUGHT
In WATer or in METal,
FLOWing and MELTING under LIME.
CUT them in ROCK
SO, not to be deFACED,
They HARDen and take SHAPE again
As SIGNS I’VE not brought DOWN
To any LIGHTer STATE
By LOVE-tip or my HAND’s RED HEAT.