Hush . . .



Richard Burton, voice
Noam Murro for DDB, London

It is Spring, moonless night in the small town, starless and bible-black, the
cobblestreets silent and the hunched, courter’s-and-rabbits’ wood limping
invisible down to the sloeblack, slow, black, crowblack, fishingboat-bobbing
sea. The houses are are blind as moles (though moles see fine tonight in the
snouting, velvet dingles) or blind as Captain Cat there in the muffled middle by
the pump and the town clock, the shops in mourning, the Welfare Hall in widows’
weeds. And all the people of the lulled and dumbfound town are sleeping now.

Hush, the babies are sleeping, the farmers, the fishers, the tradesmen and
pensioners, cobbler, schoolteacher, postman and publican, the undertaker and the
fancy woman, drunkard, dressmaker, preacher, policeman, the webfoot cocklewomen
and the tidy wives. Young girls lie bedded soft or glide in their dreams, with
rings and trousseaux, bridesmaided by glow-worms down the aisles of the
organplaying wood. The boys are dreaming wicked of the bucking ranches of the
night and the jollyrodgered sea. And the anthracite statues of the horses sleep
in the fields, and the cows in the byres, and the dogs in the wet-nosed yard;
and the cats nap in the slant corners or lope sly, streaking and needling, on
the one cloud of the roofs.

You can hear the dew falling, and the hushed town breathing.

Only your eyes are unclosed to see the black and folded town fast, and slow,
asleep.

And you alone can hear the invisible starfall, the darkest-before-dawn minutely
dewgrazed stir of the black, dab-filled sea where the Arethusa, the Curlew and
the Skylark, Zanzibar, Rhiannon, the Rover, the Cormorant, and the Star of Wales
tilt and ride.

Listen. It is night in the chill, squat chapel, hymning in bonnet and brooch and
bombazine black, butterfly choker and bootlace bow, coughing like nannygoats,
sucking mintoes, fortywinking hallelujah; night in the four-ale, quiet as a
domino; in Ocky Milkman’s lofts like a mouse with gloves; in Dai Bread’s bakery
flying like black flour. It is tonight in Donkey Street, trotting silent, with
seaweed on its hooves, along the cockled cobbles, past curtained fernpot, text
and trinket, harmonium, holy dresser, watercolours done by hand, china dog and
rosy tin teacaddy. It is night neddying among the snuggeries of babies.

Look. It is night, dumbly, royally winding through the Coronation cherry trees;
going through the graveyard of Bethesda with winds gloved and folded, and dew
doffed; tumbling by the Sailors Arms.

Time passes. Listen. Time passes.

Come closer now.

Only you can hear the houses sleeping in the streets in the slow deep salt and
silent black, bandaged night. Only you can see, in the blinded bedrooms, the
combs and petticoats over the chairs, the jugs and basins, the glasses of teeth,
Thou Shalt Not on the wall, and the yellowing dickybird-watching pictures of the
dead. Only you can hear and see, behind the eyes of the sleepers, the movements
and countries and mazes and colours and dismays and rainbows and tunes and
wished and flight and fall and despairs and big seas of their dreams.

From where you are, you can hear their dreams…

   – Dylan Thomas, Under Milk Wood

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