This story coms from a teller of tales, Jack the fiddler, not known for being terribly truthful. Keep that in consideration as you hear it told.
We often get interesting visitors here, and the fellow dressed all in green and calling himself Myrddin who dropped by the Pub a few weeks ago was no exception. After shaking a few still green oak leaves off his duster, he sat down at the bar and said not a word until after he’d had a few pints of Cwrw Tudno, a Welsh ale we keep on tap. And then he began to tell tales of Welsh poets he had known down the centuries. Though some had been dead longer than the British Empire existed, he remembered them as if he had conversed with them just yesterday.
If he was who he claimed to be, this might just be true. Or he might be as insane as the visitor we have who calls himself Mad Merlin. Whoever this fellow was, his tales were complex, dark, and lasted well into the night. Be it Ellis Evan (And there, the weeping willow trees / Bear the old harps that sang amain, The lads’ wild anguish fills the breeze / their blood is mingled with the rain), who perished in The Great War; or the first Welsh poets, such as Aneirin and Taliesin, whose work it is said by many to be descended from the tradition of the druids, he knew them all.
But his saddest memories were of Dylan Marlais Thomas, a poet who died a scant half century ago at the age of not yet forty. Of all the poets he’d known, Thomas’ death hit him hard. Why this was so he’d no wish to say. But he did say that ‘Do Not Go Gentle into That Good Night’ was one of the finest poems he had ever heard a poet speak. The stanza ‘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’ was one that he had taken to heart. After chanting it softly, he went quietly into the winter night as if he were but a memory fading away.