Do Not Go Gentle

Dylan Thomas was born in Wales in 1914. He was a neurotic, sickly child who shied away from school and preferred reading on his own; he read all of D.H. Lawrence’s poetry, impressed by Lawrence’s descriptions of a vivid natural world. Fascinated by language, he excelled in English and reading, but neglected other subjects and dropped out of school at sixteen. His first book, Eighteen Poems, was published to great acclaim when he was twenty. Thomas did not sympathize with T.S. Eliot’s and W.H. Auden’s thematic concerns with social and intellectual issues, and his writing, with its intense lyricism and highly charged emotion, has more in common with the Romantic tradition. Thomas first visited America in January 1950, at the age of thirty-five. His reading tours of the United States, which did much to popularize the poetry reading as new medium for the art, are famous and notorious, for Thomas was the archetypal Romantic poet of the popular American imagination: he was flamboyantly theatrical, a heavy drinker, engaged in roaring disputes in public, and read his work aloud with tremendous depth of feeling. He became a legendary figure, both for his work and the boisterousness of his life. Tragically, he died from alcoholism at the age of 39 after a particularly long drinking bout in New York City in 1953.

 

Do not go gentle into that good night

by Dylan Thomas


Do not go gentle into that good night,
Old age should burn and rave 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 who caught and sang the sun in flight,
And learn, too late, they grieved it on its 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 the 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.

http://www.poets.org/viewmedia.php/prmMID/15377

Advertisements

One comment on “Do Not Go Gentle

  1. dlip says:

    Dylan Thomas was an old favourite (sorry, I do UK spellings!) but now as I re-read this poem, with the passage of time, I can understand the merits of the above for one who died as young as he did; one who had so much more to give. But now… there is a certain dignity in “going gently into that good night”, like a sunset, slipping quietly down into the horizon, sending out all the wonderful colours of hope – salmon pink, flame-reds, wispy oranges and indigo turning to purple. Some day, I hope I can go like that, in the full knowledge that ultimately I have left, if even a tiny one, a footprint in the sands of time.

    Like

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s