Welsh poet Dylan Thomas was born 100 years ago this year. I first came across these lines in a school copy of his “play for voices”.
Willy Nilly, postman, asleep up street, walks fourteen miles to deliver the post as he does every day of the night, and rat-a-tats hard and sharp on Mrs Willy Nilly.
MRS WILLY NILLY
Don’t spank me, please, teacher,
whimpers his wife at his side, but every night of her married life she has been late for school.
The pop artist Peter Blake – best known for his cover of the Beatles Sgt. Pepper album – has been working on a series of pictures inspired by Milk Wood since the 1980s and this year they are being exhibited for the first time. The documentary Under Milk Wood in
Pictures included his painting of Willy Nilly the postman and his wife enjoying some teacher-pupil role-play.
I’ve added a second clip of the extract being recorded in New York (where Thomas died in 1953). It’s from a TV drama called Dylan Thomas: A Poet in New York.