Dylan Thomas’s grave is an extravagantly simple affair. He’s buried in the overspill graveyard at St Martin’s church in Laugharne on the Carmarthenshire coast. There’s no gravestone, just a white wooden cross with his name on one side and, on the other, that of his wife, Caitlin, who lies there with him. I don’t recall seeing a humbler resting place for any such celebrated person.
I wonder if the man who famously raged against the dying of the light would be so enraged about his light dying that he would like his grave this way, having something so basic in which he could sulk for eternity. Rightly or wrongly, the simplicity of it suggested humility; the man went up in my estimation.
If you take the muddy track from the top of that graveyard towards the sea, you soon come across something rather grander bearing his name. The Dylan Coastal Resort is an upmarket development of “luxury self-catering properties with hot tubs, world-class spa and dining facilities”. It all looked very nice indeed, but the name felt terribly wrong. Perhaps it was coming across it moments after seeing that same name etched on to a simple wooden cross. For me the sight was a visual representation of the sound of nails screeching down a blackboard.
I have since established that a week in May in one of the very nice Milk Wood Lodges would set me back more than £2,500. I imagine folk in those Milk Wood Lodges reading Under Milk Wood while the ghost of Dylan rages away at the dissonance of it all.