The memories of Dylan Thomas and Cwmdonkin Park are closely interwoven. It is clear from his fond descriptions that he saw the park as a wonderful, safe place where the imagination of a young boy was allowed to run wild. “And in the park was a world within the world of the seatown,” as he wrote in his Remiscences of Childhood.
“Quite near where I lived, so near that on summer evenings, I could listen in my bed to the voices of the older children playing ball on the sloping, paper-littered bank; the park was full of terrors and treasures. Though it was only a little park, it held within its borders of the old tall trees, notched with our names and shabby from our climbing, as many secret places, caverns and forests, prairies and deserts as a country somewhere at the end of the sea.”
Although the reservoir,the bandstand, the elms and the rockery have long since gone, today’s children can often be seen running where they shouldn’t go and playing the same games as Dylan Thomas was seen seen to play by the park-keeper he mentions in his reminiscences.
“Oh yes, yes, I know him well. He used to climb the reservoir ralings and pelt the old swans. Run like a billygoat over the grass you should keep off. Cut branches from the trees. Carve words on the benches. Pull up the moss in the rockery. Go skip though the dahlias. Fight in the bandstand. Climb up the elmsand moon up the top like an owl. Light fires in the bushes. Play on the green bank. Oh yes, I knew him well. I think he was happy all the time. I’ve known him by the thousands.”