Day 710: Milk Wood Misunderstood

Laetitia sat in a comfortable chair in the library of the Emerald Victorian, sipping Peet’s Major Dickason Blend. She had a passing thought wondering who Major Dickason, was but didn’t take time to pursue it because she had just found what she was looking for: a book of the collected works of Dylan Thomas. Her grandmother liked to quote from his poem Do Not Go Gentle into That Good Night. When she did, Laetitia teased her about liking Thomas because his wife, Caitlin, was Irish, but Laetitia liked his work, too. She had read A Child’s Christmas in Wales when she was small and seen Under Milk Wood at a Hibernia theater. She scanned the pages of the book for a while and then made a decision. She would go to Laugharne.

Laetitia took her group along a path under the ruin of Laugharne Castle that led to the writing shed where Thomas wrote Under Milk Wood. Both the shed and the boathouse where Dylan lived with Caitlin from 1949–1953 are located on what he once described as the “heron-priested shore” overlooking the Taf Estuary. Laugharne is the likely inspiration for Llareggub, the fictional setting for Under Milk Wood. Llareggub is “bugger all” spelled backward. The slang phrase can be interpreted in a bawdy way, but it’s more commonly used as an idiom meaning “nothing.” In early editions of the play, publishers censored the village name to Llaregyb. The group had tea on the terrace next to the boathouse and then did a walkabout in the village. Over a pint of Buckley’s Ale at Brown’s Hotel, Laetitia composed the limerick of the day.

Though I’m sure he was misunderstood
And thought mirth in village names good
Censors found it perverse
“Bugger all” in reverse
When Thomas wrote Under Milk Wood.

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