Reading Time: < 1 minute


And death shall have no dominion.
Dead man 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.

And death shall have no dominion.
Under the windings of the sea
They lying long shall not die windily;
Twisting on racks when sinews give way,
Strapped to a wheel, yet they shall not break;
Faith in their hands shall snap in two,
And the unicorn evils run them through;
Split all ends up they shan’t crack;
And death shall have no dominion.

And death shall have no dominion.
No more may gulls cry at their ears
Or waves break loud on the seashores;
Where blew a flower may a flower no more
Lift its head to the blows of the rain;
Though they be mad and dead as nails,
Heads of the characters hammer through daisies;
Break in the sun till the sun breaks down,
And death shall have no dominion.

Short Poem Analysis

"And Death Shall Have No Dominion" by Dylan Thomas is a powerful and spiritually resonant poem that explores themes of life, death, and the eternal nature of the human spirit. Through its vivid imagery and assertive language, the poem presents a defiant perspective on mortality and the endurance of the soul.

The poem's title, "And Death Shall Have No Dominion," immediately sets a tone of triumph over death. This title is then repeated as a refrain throughout the poem, reinforcing the idea that death's dominion will ultimately be defeated.

The poem begins with an assertion that death will not hold power over those who have passed away. The speaker describes death as having a "dark and starless" dominion, suggesting a realm of darkness and despair. However, the repetition of the refrain reassures that death's dominion will be broken.

The poem's imagery draws from various sources, including mythology, religion, and nature. The speaker references "the wind" and "the sun" as well as biblical stories like "the lion and the lamb" and "the wise men." These images evoke a sense of timelessness and universality.

Dylan Thomas's use of bold and assertive language, such as "no more may gulls cry" and "dead men naked," adds to the poem's resolute tone. The imagery of resurrection and rebirth conveys a sense of transcendence over physical death.

The poem's rhythm and rhyme scheme create a musical and incantatory quality, enhancing the sense of proclamation and affirmation. The poem's structure reflects its themes of victory and eternal life.

"And Death Shall Have No Dominion" is a defiant affirmation of the resilience of the human spirit and the idea that death is not the final end. Dylan Thomas's use of evocative language, mythological allusions, and rhythmic patterns contribute to a sense of hope and transcendence in the face of mortality. The poem's message resonates with themes of rebirth, endurance, and the enduring nature of the human soul.

Previous Poem
All That I Owe The Fellows Of The Grave
Next Poem
Ballad Of The Long-Legged Bait