Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Do Not Go Gentle Into That Good Night

  Venetian Sunset

Dylan Thomas's poem 'Do Not Go Gentle Into That Good Night' stays with its reader. At the moment, it refuses to leave my mind (maybe because I recently shared it with my students). The poem concerns the author's experience watching the decline of his father's life. Dylan Thomas urges him to cling to life and its remaining experiences with every effort. 

Thankfully, I'm not in a similar position with any of my loved ones. Nevertheless, this poem resonates with me on a personal level. I think of times when I've abandoned goals and worthwhile experiences because I've doubted myself or didn't credit my own abilities. I gave up.

I find the eloquence with which Thomas urges his father to not give up the fight inspiring, whatever one's particular life challenges may present. Don't relent! Don't give in to setbacks or fatigue! Continue our efforts! Fight for what we love with every breath we're given! This is what I take away from the poem. But, of course, Dylan Thomas phrases it far more vividly and beautifully than I ever could....

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.

The video above features Dylan Thomas reciting this masterful poem (a villanelle to be precise). I love hearing poets share their own work. Their delivery adds a new dimension of meaning to the printed words. :)

Is any poetry inspiring you right now? If so, please share!


Caro said...

Beautiful! I've never heard of this author before, I'll have to check out his work. Thanks for sharing!

Right now I can't get enough of Robert Frost's Fire and Ice and Charlotte Brontë's Passion. I wouldn't say they inspire me, but they certainly take my breath away.

Anonymous said...

This is one of my favorite poems! I've done the same thing myself -- given up on things. Thank you so much for the inspiration to keep trying. :)

Diana said...

Caro, I'm not all that familiar with him either. I need to read more!

I love the ability poetry has to take one's breath away. It almost seems like a magical power somehow.

Diana said...

Joon Ann, I'm so glad you found it inspiring. This was an attempt to fire up my own motivation to keep going, so I'm glad to hear it helped someone!

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