1952


29
YEARS

DOMINION OF DEATH

Working at the London office of Dents,

Underwood gets to meet a new variety of authors.

Underwood at a book launch for the author and illustrator Laurent de Brunhoff.

“I met Dylan Thomas a couple of times…”

“…almost the first words he said to me,

a complete stranger, were…”

‘You don’t have the cost of a drink, do you?’

“…we met in the pub in Charing Cross Road that he sometimes frequented…”

“…I learned that he was by no means sceptical of the idea of ghosts…”

“Knowing that he frequented The Gargoyle Club in Soho, I asked him whether he knew anything about the reputed ghost there…”

“He told me that he found a unique and quite fascinating atmosphere at The Gargoyle…”

The Gargoyle Club was a private members' club on the upper floors of 69 Dean Street, Soho, London.

“...he was certain the place was haunted,

and he said he wouldn’t spend a night there alone

for anything...”

“I remember he said that if you wanted to die

or were reconciled to the fact,

it was different…”

“…but if you fought against death

and refused to accept it…”

“...then he thought it very likely that

‘something’ lingered on after…”

‘Though they go mad they shall be sane,

Though they sink through the sea they shall rise again;

Though lovers be lost love shall not;

And death shall have no dominion.’

And Death Shall Have No Dominion, by Dylan Thomas

Thomas dies just one year later,

in 1953.

“I wonder what he would say about his ghost apparently haunting the old Boat House at Laugharne that he loved?”

Laugharne is a town in Carmarthenshire,

in the south-west of Wales,

where Thomas spent the last years of his life.

“When I was there, researching my Ghosts of Wales, I met several people who told me they had glimpsed the distinct and untidy figure of the brilliant little poet…”

“...usually in mid-afternoon...”

“Dylan’s head was full of legend and myth,

and applause and admiration meant more to him

than anything…”

“…perhaps something of that tormented personality

does return from time to time to the place where…”

“…he worked so hard writing and rewriting…”

“…revising and re-revising

until he achieved what he called…”

“...‘poetic truth’...”

No Common Task
pp.47-48

Dylan Thomas's shed, where he wrote some of his poetry and stories. It's an old shed that is near to the boathouse which was his final residence.