And Death Shall Have No Dominion

The Triumph of Christianity over Paganism by Gustave Dore

Last year, I became acquainted with a poem by Dylan Thomas called, “And Death Shall Have No Dominion.” Like Thomas’s other poems, it is filled with dense and sometimes startling language. I doubt I understand it any more than I understand Thomas’s other poems. But I try 😉

The quality of Thomas’s faith also isn’t clear to me. His rather dissipated lifestyle (which led to his death) suggests Christ held little sway in him. Still, Thomas dedicated Collected Poems (published just before he died) to God. His explanation to those who would wonder why he would make such a dedication was that he would be a fool if he didn’t.

Despite dense language and uncertainty about Thomas’s relationship with Christ, the note of death having no dominion sounds so clearly in this poem, it is worth reading, re-reading, and sharing.

Below is the beginning of the poem, with a link to the full poem at You can also hear Thomas read the poem himself here:

And Death Shall Have No Dominion

And death shall have no dominion.
Dead men naked they shall be one
With the man in the wind and the west moon;
When their bones are picked clean and the clean bones gone,
They shall have stars at elbow and foot;
Though they go mad they shall be sane,
Though they sink through the sea they shall rise again;
Though lovers be lost love shall not;
And death shall have no dominion.

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