"Fern Hill" exhibits the poet's strong feeling, strong affection for nature, and imagery of the past, all Romantic elements. The poem evokes the delight and liberty of childhood, and for many it may seem a less substantial work by this poet. The poem concerns the natural course of events in life--childhood takes place, childhood ends, and now the poet looks back to that time and remembers it. In this poem, Thomas achieves the creation of a child's world from the viewpoint of a child who is still living in that world:
Now as I was young and easy under the apple boughs
About the lilting house and happy as the grass was green,
The night above the dingle starry,
Golden in the heydays of his eyes (1-5).
Thomas maintains this tone of voice until the last stanza, when the boy gives way to the man who then expresses his view of the tragic in life, something a child does not see. What is interesting about the poem is that Thomas manages to give the sense of the tragic even before his final comments, and he does this through the eyes of the boy for whom tragedy has no meaning. The reader is thus expecting the final passage without necessarily knowing it.
The farm evoked in "Fern Hill" is a real one where Thomas spent his summer months with relatives when he was a child. This makes the boy in the poem at least in part a representation of Thomas himself as a child. For Thomas, the childhood he remembers was a time of joy, but this fact alone points to the conclusion of the poem, to the fact that the poet has lost that sense of joy and is reflecting on its loss:
And as I was green and carefree, famous among the barns
About the happy yard and singing as the farm was home,
In the Sun that is young once only,
The sense of loss is only hinted at slightly here in the mention of the fact that the Sun is young only once and in the reference to Time as an entity that at that time let him be, the corollary bein...