Order of Celebration

Sean and Becky at the first "Dylan Night" in 2012
DRESS CODE
Gentlemen, in honour of the bard, cardigan and tie please. Ladies may wish to follow fashions from the 1940s and 1950s.

ARRIVAL
As each guests enters the host exclaims the following lines from And Death Shall Have No Dominion:

Though they sink through the sea they shall rise again; Though lovers be lost love shall not;
And death shall have no dominion.

First drink - both men and women to be served brown ale (enjoyed by both Dylan and Caitlin) with the toast "To Dylan"

To table - One place is set aside for Dylan, perhaps with a framed photo of him on the table

FIRST POEM
Kate and Remco at the first "Dylan Night" in 2012
The guest whose birthday falls closest to Dylan's, October 27th, has the honour of reciting his wonderful poem "In my Craft or Sullen Art"

In my craft or sullen art
Exercised in the still night
When only the moon rages
And the lovers lie abed
With all their griefs in their arms,
I labor by singing light
Not for ambition or bread
Or the strut and trade of charms
On the ivory stages
But for the common wages
Of their most secret heart.

Not for the proud man apart
From the raging moon I write
On these spindrift pages
Nor for the towering dead
With their nightingales and psalms
But for the lovers, their arms
Round the griefs of the ages,
Who pay no praise or wages

Nor heed my craft or art.

FIRST COURSE
Involving the ancient Welsh ingredient laverbread, perhaps with scallops and bacon. The host recites these lines from the poem "Elegy" before the course is begun:

On that darkest day. Oh, forever may
He lie lightly, at last, on the last, crossed
Hill, under the grass, in love, and there grow

Between courses - each guest is asked to recite poems or stanzas from Dylan's work, a collection of which is passed around. Or guests can assume roles from his play "Under Milk Wood" and read a page or two of dialogue.

MAIN COURSE
Cawl with dumplings - a traditional Welsh stew, with meat or without. As the Cawl is brought to table, the host recites And death shall have no dominion.

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.

A toast "To Caitlin" the host calls for a toast to Dylan's wife which is preceded by a guest reciting the short poem "On A Wedding Anniversary"

The sky is torn across
This ragged anniversary of two
Who moved for three years in tune
Down the long walks of their vows.

 Now their love lies a loss
 And Love and his patients roar on a chain;
 From every tune or crater
 Carrying cloud, Death strikes their house.

 Too late in the wrong rain
 They come together whom their love parted:
 The windows pour into their heart
 And the doors burn in their brain.

DESSERT
Something simple and seasonal which Dylan could have enjoyed in his own time, perhaps apple crumble with custard. Guests may also take time to discuss Dylan's life and work.

18 STRAIGHT WHISKIES
Dylan Thomas boasted he had drunk "eighteen straight whiskies" shortly before his death in New York.

The host lines up 18 glasses with a tot of whisky in each and shares them among the guests. As each guest downs a tot, he or she declares: "And death shall have no dominion"

At close of supper - the host recites "Do Not Go Gentle Into That Good Night"

Do not go gentle into that good night,
Old age should burn and rave at close of day;
Rage, rage against the dying of the light.

Though wise men at their end know dark is right,
Because their words had forked no lightning they
Do not go gentle into that good night.

Good men, the last wave by, crying how bright
Their frail deeds might have danced in a green bay,
Rage, rage against the dying of the light.

Wild men who caught and sang the sun in flight,
And learn, too late, they grieved it on its way,
Do not go gentle into that good night.

Grave men, near death, who see with blinding sight
Blind eyes could blaze like meteors and be gay,
Rage, rage against the dying of the light.

And you, my father, there on that sad height,
Curse, bless, me now with your fierce tears, I pray.
Do not go gentle into that good night.
Rage, rage against the dying of the light.

TAKING LEAVE
The celebration is now over, but as each guest takes leave, the host recites again the following:

Do not go gentle into that good night,
Old age should burn and rave at close of day;
Rage, rage against the dying of the light.