Dylan Thomas — If I Were Tickled By The Rub Of Love


Dylan Marlais Thomas (1914-1953) Reading by Dylan Thomas If I Were Tickled By the Rub of Love If I were tickled by the rub of love, A rooking girl who stole me for her side, Broke through her straws, breaking my bandaged string, If the red tickle as the cattle calve Still set to scratch a laughter from my lung, I would not fear the apple nor the flood Nor the bad blood of spring. Shall it be male or female? say the cells, And drop the plum like fire from the flesh. If I were tickled by the hatching hair, The winging bone that sprouted in the heels, The itch of man upon the baby’s thigh, I would not fear the gallows nor the axe Nor the crossed sticks of war. Shall it be male or female? say the fingers That chalk the walls with greet girls and their men. I would not fear the muscling-in of love If I were tickled by the urchin hungers Rehearsing heat upon a raw-edged nerve. I would not fear the devil in the loin Nor the outspoken grave. If I were tickled by the lovers’ rub That wipes away not crow’s-foot nor the lock Of sick old manhood on the fallen jaws, Time and the crabs and the sweethearting crib Would leave me cold as butter for the flies The sea of scums could drown me as it broke Dead on the sweethearts’ toes. This world is half the devil’s and my own, Daft with the drug that’s smoking in a girl And curling round the bud that forks her eye. An old man’s shank one-marrowed with my bone, And all the herrings smelling in the sea, I sit and watch the worm beneath my nail

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