Friday, May 21, 2021

Poem: My Son the Lawyer Quotes Dylan Thomas to Give Me Courage

Dylan Thomas   1914-1953

Maria Mazziotti Gillan contributed a poem to the DYLANDAY 2021 celebration sponsored by the Metropolitan City of Turin, Italy. DylanDay debuted in 2015 as a tribute to Dylan Thomas, one of the greatest poets of the twentieth century. In different locations, exhibitions and conferences have been organized to highlight the various aspects of his poetry, so brilliant and innovative, and of his adventurous life.

But why in Turin? Aeronwy Thomas, daughter of Dylan, for many years held a remote creative writing workshop with the students of a Turin school and in 2006 she came to visit Turin and meet with students.

Dylan Thomas was a Welsh poet and writer whose works include the poems "Do not go gentle into that good night" and "And death shall have no dominion," the "play for voices" Under Milk Wood; and stories and radio broadcasts such as A Child's Christmas in Wales and Portrait of the Artist as a Young Dog.

The poems collected for DylanDay 2021 are on the DylanDay website. 

My Son the Lawyer Quotes Dylan Thomas to Give Me Courage

After I lose my balance and fall,
smashing my nose against the hardwood floor,
I slip in a huge puddle of blood,
try to stand up but my feet keep sliding.

I have always loved mystery stories,
read about people stabbed to death,
but never thought about the blood,
how the murderer could break his neck sliding in it.

After the hospital,
after the x-rays,
the EKG,
the four-hour drive to Binghamton,
after I teach my class, looking battle-scarred,
I think of my son who used to tell me
I should cut back and give up poetry,
proving that he did not understand anything about me.

When I talk to him on the phone he is shocked
to hear defeat in my voice.
I am always optimistic about everything
even in the middle of calamity,
but today I am brought low
by the recognition of frailty.

My son, the lawyer, the practical pragmatic one,
says how many women your age have a life they love,
work they love doing?

Later, he sends me a quote from Dylan Thomas.
“Do not go gentle into that good night,
Old age should burn and rave at close of day;
Rage, rage against the dying of the light.”

I repeat the lines over and over to myself,
grateful to this son I was sure didn't understand anything about me.

Maria Mazziotti Gillan's new poetry collection is When the Stars Were Still Visible (2021). Other recent publications are the poetry and photography collection, Paterson Light and Shadow and the poetry collections What Blooms in Winter and The Girls in the Chartreuse Jackets which pairs her poems with her paintings. Maria's artist's website is and her poetry website is

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