Every Morning I Wake by Dylan Thomas || Summary, Notes, Exercises || Grade XII English


2. Every Morning I Wake by Dylan Thomas

Dylan Thomas

About the Poet: Dylan Thomas

Born in Swansea, Wales, Dylan Thomas (1914- 1953) is famous for his acutely lyrical and emotional poetry. Thomas can be seen as an extension into the 20th century of the general movement called Romanticism, that flourished in the nineteenth century England, particularly in its emphasis on imagination, emotion, intuition, spontaneity, and organic form.

Considered to be one of the greatest Welsh poets of all time, Thomas is largely known for his imaginative use of language and vivid imagery in his poems. He started working for BBC in 1945. Under Milk Wood (1953), a radio play, was written over a long period of time during the last months of his life. It is set in a small Welsh town called Llareggub and covers one day in the lives of its provincial characters.



Summary of Poem Every Morning I Wake

“Every Morning I Wake” is an extract from Under the Milk Wood. In this poem, Thomas prays to the magnificent God to have mercy on ordinary inhabitants living under the Milk Wood. While invoking God in this poem, the speaker begs for his or her benevolence for the people of Milk Wood, a little hamlet located under Milk Wood. Many people call this poem a sunset poem or a prayer poem. This poem serves as a strong reminder that nothing compares to God. God is the only creator of the cosmos. In one verse, it expresses the essence of all prayers. We humans are nothing but just a ball of cartilage and collagen.


Stanza by Stanza Explanation

In the poem "Every Morning I wake", the poet says these lines in the first stanza.

Every morning when I wake,

Dear Lord, a little prayer I make,

O please do keep Thy loving eye

On all poor creatures born to die


From these lines, speaker is asking god to love him/them forever. He not only prays to god for the protection of own but also for all innocent creatures in the world.


And every evening at sun-down

I ask a blessing on the town,

For whether we last the night or no

I’m sure is always touch-and-go.


In these lines, speaker expresses the uncertainty of life and death. He is unsure if the night is the last night of city inhabitants or not, but he always prays the almighty will make everything good and protect them from any possible harms. . The speaker prays to God before going to bed, but he doesn't know whether he'll see them again in the morning, so he asks for God to bless them.  Every night's benefits from God enable us to see them the next day.


We are not wholly bad or good

Who live our lives under Milk Wood,

And Thou, I know, will be the first

To see our best side, not our worst.


In the process of living our daily lives, we may be nice or terrible, but only God is aware of our best selves In this way, the speaker kneels before God, pleading for him to preserve them alive till morning. Specially, speaker represents Milk wood town and makes sure that they are not totally bad or totally good. People might judge them on their own way it all depends on someone's perspective on how s/he judges others. But the speaker seems optimistic that the god knows the best side of the inhabitants of milk down. 


O let us see another day!

Bless us all this night, I pray,

And to the sun we all will bow

And say, good-bye – but just for now!


Last stanza, represents the ending lines of their prayers. Speaker pray that the night will be down soon and the delighting sun will re-appear. Night is used as the imagery in this poem. It points the pains, stress and undelightful days of the inhabitants of the town or the speaker himself. And he hopes for Almighty's help in their bad days. Last Good Bye for now, represents the ending of prayer. This time, the speaker says his or her goodbyes, but he or she knows they won't be permanent.

Understanding the text

a)    When does the speaker pray to the Lord?

The speaker prays to the Lord in the morning time and evening time.

b)     What does the speaker pray for?

The speaker prays for the grace, sympathy and protection from the god to the residents of Milk wood.

c)    Who are the ‘poor creatures’? Why does the speaker call them ‘poor creatures’?

Poor creatures actually mean all the innocent creatures that are on planet earth. However, in the prayer, the speaker is referring the residents of Milk wood as poor creatures. They are referred to as "poor animals" by the speaker since they are made up of "bone and flesh" and are destined to die.

d)    What does Milk Wood sound like? A type of wood or a place? Why?

A single proper noun referring to a single place does not need an article. Since it is not a specific kind of wood, an article such as an or a is not used. Milk Wood seems like a place since there isn't no article preceding this phrase.

e)    Why do the inhabitants of Milk Wood bow to the setting sun ‘but just for now’?

Milk Wood's residents make a bow to the setting sun as a way of saying farewell for the time being. The next morning, they expect to see the sun blazing. They hope to see another day thanks to the goodness of God and the warmth of the Sun.


Reference to the context

a)    Discuss “Every Morning When I Wake” as a prayer to the God.

Dylan Thomas’s "Every Morning When I Wake" is a prayer poem.  In a prayer poem, the speaker asks God for blessings and guidance throughout his life and the lives of all human types and animals. "Dear Lord, a small prayer I make/O please do keep Thy loving eye/on all poor creatures born to die," from these lines we can say the speaker is praying to God. The speaker is pleading with God to maintain his loving gaze on all of creation and to shower blessings on them.

b)    Why does the speaker make a prayer to the God, but not to a king, a billionaire or a scientist?

The speaker knows well that none can be above god. Because God is the ultimate entity, the source of all creation, and the focus of all religious belief, the speaker offers a prayer to Him. He has all three attributes: power, knowledge, and actuality. A king is crowned because of God, a scientist learns new things because of God, and a millionaire is wealthy because of God. They are unable to safeguard us in the same way that God does. His existence is holy; He made us and rescues us; We love Him; We trust Him; and He directs us on a straight and narrow way. God has authority over everyone and everything, even them. No matter how strong, wealthy, or knowledgeable someone is, they can never be compared to God. That is why we worship him in order to get his forgiveness and benefits.  All humans, whether they kings, millionaires, or scientists, are composed of bone and flesh and are destined to die. A monarch, a millionaire, or a scientist are all just transient beings. That's why the speaker prays to the god.

c)    How does the poet highlight the magnificence of the God?

The poet highlights God's greatness by pointing out that he watches over and cares for all of creation from the moment they are born until they die. The speaker knows well that none can be above god. Because God is the ultimate entity, the source of all creation, and the focus of all religious belief, the speaker offers a prayer to Him. He has all three attributes: power, knowledge, and actuality. Poet mentions that God guards us from the unknown, and that He is the only ultimate being who understands our best interests. 

d)    How does the rhyme scheme of the poem reinforce its message?

The rhyme pattern used throughout the poem is AABB. There's an organized structure to this poem's rhymes, due to the usage of AABB rhyme scheme. In the eyes of God, the speaker is a helpless child. It conveys a childlike quality due to its austere design. Every second line of every verse rhymes with the previous one. Such rhymes have the effect of making a song more enjoyable to listen to. In order to make a pure plea to God, most prayer poems use this rhyme pattern. Line 1 rhymes with line 1 in the AABB rhyming scheme, while line 3 rhymes with line 4 in the same scheme. 

Reference beyond the text

a)    Does the God exist? Give your opinion.

Yes, of course, I am a theist and I believe on God. Also, if you're looking for God, don't hurry up; God is already inside of you. As far as I'm concerned, I believe in God since I've received everything I asked for thus far. Maintain a positive outlook and continue to do good acts, since God is keeping eyes on your every move and will certainly reward you for them.


We can't see God, but we may witness his influence in our daily lives. God's existence is unquestionable, just as radiation is. "Does God exist?" is the most significant issue that has been debated since the dawn of civilization. But just because we can't feel or see something doesn't imply it doesn't exist. Things that come as a surprise and work miraculously serve as evidence that God exists. Sixth-sense users are inclined to believe in the presence of a higher power. Regardless of whether or not some people reject the existence of God, I believe in him. Through the use of our five senses, we have become used to feeling and experiencing the physical world. Some believe God doesn't exist since no one has seen Him bodily yet or because our sensory senses don't detect his existence. Still I believe in him.

b)    In his Epistle to the author of the book, The Three Impostors (1768), Voltaire says, “Even if the God didn’t exist, it would be necessary to invent him.” Write an essay highlighting the importance of the God in the society.

Civilized societies are made out of decent people. As a result, even if God doesn't exist, it's essential to construct an ideal version of his existence.

Most individuals who believe in the existence of a soul after death also believe in God. It follows that God is required for a good society, or else He must be created. The souls of those who live their lives in accordance with moral principles and ideals after death rest quietly in the presence of God. People continue to have this idea because of their conviction in God's existence. Without God, the world would be a tumultuous mess. If God didn't exist, we'd still have to make him up. Voltaire, a French philosopher of the 18th century, articulated this idea in his work "The Three Imposters (1768)" To be really happy, people must have faith in a higher power-God. He is supremely intelligent, incredibly powerful, and a force behind all of nature's rules. Every single individual in every single culture has to have faith in Him.


A civilized society requires smooth operations. The ultimate creator has maintained our planet's natural splendour. He instructs us on letting go of things like vengeance, greed, passion, and a host of other negative emotions. People's ideas and ideals shape a society's civilization. Before committing any crime, people are motivated by dread of God. God represents all of our society's good aspects, while evil represents all of our society's bad aspects. A sense of order may be found here. If they don't repent of the sins they do here, they'll spend eternity in purgatory. It instils in us moral qualities such as humanity, kindness, love, and compassion. People don't perform wicked things because they are afraid of God. God directs us in the proper direction. People are still able to live in harmony and at peace with one another. If there is no God, then people will die, property will be damaged, and there will be devastation.



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