‘Poem in October’ is composed in 1944 and it is a birthday poem, when Dylan Thomas turned thirty. In this poem, the autobiographical elements are combined with the registers of time and memory to refer to experiences that grant a new perspective on life. The poem’s title refers to the poet’s birth-month and this is the fourth birthday poem that he had written till then. The poem was composed on the occasion of the poet’s thirtieth birthday. The fact that the events to which allusions are made in the poem are not chronically arranged enhances the importance of certain memories over others, memories which Thomas privileges here. ‘The ‘heron Priested’: the heron occupying a position around the water habitat that is regal is priestly and authoritative, without fearing intervention from any human agency. ‘And the gates of the town closed as the town awoke’: a reference to the town of Laugharne, which in medieval times would have had gates closed and opened according to set time rules, something that Thomas imagines here and assumes that in such a realm, he would have made it before the gates shut.
In considering his childhood, Thomas imaginatively reconstructs his past, and in doing so, revisits aspects of his life that have meaning now only through the register of memory. ‘The sea-wet church’ refers to the old church at Laugharne by the shore. ‘There could I marvel My birthday Away but the weather turned around’: the joy is contextualized by the external circumstances, including the weather which turned around. ‘Blithe country’: a landscape unaffected by human sorrow. ‘Parables of sunlight’: the rays of the sun with one of the archaic meanings of ‘parable’ are ‘throw’ or ‘cast’. The evocation of spiritual understanding as a corollary of growth and experience contributes to the poem’s complex negotiation of an individual’s life experience.