Do Not Go Gentle Into That Good Night

by Dylan Thomas

Do not go gentle into that good night,

Old age should burn and rage at close of day;

Rage, rage against the dying of the light.

     Though wise men at their end know dark is right,

     Because their words had forked no lightning they

     Do not go gentle into that good night.

Good men, the last wave by, crying how bright

Their frail deeds might have danced in a green bay,

Rage, rage against the dying of the light.

     Wild men men who caught and sang the sun in flight,

     And learn, too late, they grieved it on it`s way,

     Do not go gentle into that good night.

Grave men, near death, who see with blinding sight

Blind eyes could blaze like meteors and be gay,

Rage, rage against the dying of the light.

     And you, my father, there on that sad height,

     Curse, bless, me now with your fierce tears, I pray.

     Do not go gentle into that good night.

     Rage, rage against the dying of the light.


Dylan Thomas`s poem was said by the glittterati of the poetry chattering classes to be influenced by Lear, Hamlet and Yeats et al; It is addressed to his father, David John, or D.J. “an unhappy man, a man with regrets.” A provincial schoolmaster with ambitions to be a serious writer, but was thwarted by lack of talent, cancer, heart disease, and a vicious, sardonic tongue with which he lashed out, and did terrible injury to his victims. This is probably too prosaic for those who claim to detect tiny specks of golden thread in a pig sty, but Dylan would probably have raised a glass or two heavenwards in salute to their witterings and shouted good luck to them, one and all. What does he mean to me? He is not just that fragile golden thread threatened with extinction by the careless feet of brute, unknowing beasts, but a whole loom of lustrous, precious gems held together by the golden web and weave of his unique intellect. Dylan`s mind was a wondrous creation of part angel, and part devil, joined together by some unholy pact written in the blood of his genius. As his father lay on his deathbed, Dylan probably wished to see the man he once knew; the one which ranted and raged against the world and all of it`s stupid misfits and grotesque logic, rather than the man he had become, passive and humbled by years of struggle against illness. The blazing meteor had been doused in the sweat and tears of terminal physical decline, but Dylan yearned for one last vital spark of defiance……..Do not go gentle into that good night. Rage, rage against the dying of the light. It is something easier said than done I`m afraid: when we are in our pomp, and the world is still there to be tamed and fought against, it sounds easier than when we lie a spent, empty vessel of quiet, internal contemplation of all the ifs and buts which peppered our lives. Ill with chest problems brought on by persistent over-drinking and heavy smoking, Dylan Thomas died in a New York hospital on November 9, 1953, sedated by morphine, and, who knows, his mind whirring with the memories of a short lifetime of ifs and buts. But in his own way, he had probably lived adventurously enough; we have the precious, priceless words of his genius for all time to savour and enjoy; so if there is a God, I do thank Him for that small mercy.



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