And death shall have no dominion
In early 1933 Thomas befriended Bert Trick, a grocer who worked in the Uplands area of Swansea. Trick was a would-be poet who had several poems published in local papers. In the spring of 1933 Trick suggested the two men both write a poem on the subject of 'immortality'. Trick's poem, which was published in a newspaper the following year, contained the refrain "For death is not the end." In 1933, in a notebook marked 'April', Thomas wrote the poem "And death shall have no dominion". Trick persuaded him to seek a publisher and May of that year it was printed in New English Weekly.
On 10 September 1936, two years after the release of his first volume of poetry (18 Poems), Twenty-five Poems was published. It revealed Thomas' personal beliefs pertaining to religion and the forces of nature, and included "And death shall have no dominion".
In popular culture
This poem is featured significantly in the television series Beauty and the Beast (Series 2), originally aired in 1988, and the film Solaris, released in 2002. It was also used at the start and ending of the movie Omega Doom.
In the film The Weight of Water from the book of the same title written by Anita Shreve, Sean Penn in the role of melancholy poet Thomas Janes recites the last four lines of the first stanza. At the end of the film after Janes drowns, the film reprises his recitation of the second and third lines of this section, but this time the film leaves the last line poignantly unspoken.
In the second and final part of the 2011 BBC TV Miniseries The Field of Blood the poem's second through ninth lines are recited from memory by character Dr. Pete, played by Peter Capaldi, in a pub as he drunkenly faces his imminent death of cancer, seated alone.
In the BBC Radio 1 Essential Mix of the Year 2011, Above & Beyond overlay the beginning of the poem on top of the tune From The Earth by Andrew Bayer, creating an inspiring melodic ending for the mix.
In the 2003 film "Rosenstrasse" this poem is quoted as two Jewish women await deportation to Auschwitz.
- Ferris (1989), p.79
- Ferris (1989) p.83