Never until the mankind making
Bird, beast and flower
Fathering and all humbling darkness³
Tells with silence the last light breaking
And the still hour
Is come to the sea tumbling in harness. (Stanza 1)
This forms the beginning of Dylan Thomas’s poem A Refusal to Mourn the Death, by Fire, of a Child in London. The poet expresses here his determination to raise no mourning for the death of a child in an air-raid on London. This is how he tries to justify his refusal to mourn for the death of the child, though the event is sad and deplorable enough.
Here the poet categorically declares that he will never mourn for the death of the child, killed by fire in an air-raid in London. His point of contention is that he will not go for any mourning till the end of everything, including his own self. In this connection. he refers to the creation of human beings as also of diverse natural objects out of darkness. Darkness is all pervasive and all powerful, and remain at the root of creation as well as extinction. The poet knows that the darkness of culmination will fall upon the entire creation on the very doomsday that will even put to silence the sea ever rolling on with its own roaring action.
The stanza emphasizes the importance of darkness and the certainty of the culmination of all with the advent of the dooms day. Of course, there is a good deal of obscurity in the arrangements of words and their exact sense. The expression ‘making’, more applicable to ‘bird’, beast and flower’ is transferred to mankind, whereas ‘fathering’ applicable to mankind is given to ‘bird’, beast, and flower.’ The use of the term ‘still hour’ is symbolic and suggests doomsday. What is particularly to be noted is the use of a long chain of adjectives to emphasize the power of darkness to humble all.