I met an old friend on the tube the other day. Thomas and I first met in my English class all those years ago when we not only dreamed our dreams but dared to believe they were possible.
By the time I met Thomas, he was already a great English novelist and poet. I went on to read many of his novels so dumstruck was I by their freshness and their fineness in spite the two of us having been born more than a century apart.
Ode to Love
A curious and lesser known fact was Thomas’s own love story. Thomas met the love of his life, a certain Emma Lavinia Gifford, when he was thirty years old. He married her four years later. They eventually become “estranged”. Emma ended up living the rest of her life in the attic while Thomas went on to lead the life of a successful and great writer.
It wasn’t until his wife passed away that, at the age of 72, Thomas went on to write more than 80 poems (1912 – 1913) to reflect on their life together and apart. Many critics consider the poems to be some of his greatest work filled with fairness, fullness and freeness, the stuff that great poetry is made of.
As I recall this love story, I feel certain there’s a crucial lesson to be (re-)learned and remembered on this special day.