Do Not Go Gentle Into That Goodnight

People that know me from way back when (like, high school kinda way back when) know that I’ve kinda always had a thing for poetry. I love reading it, I love writing it, I love analyzing it and interpreting it. I love when writers can capture a thought, a feeling or an emotion with the written word and convey it in a way that may seem to be one thing when in fact it is many, many things.

I also love poetry that stirs up thought and emotion within me. I have a few favorites that have always sparked me, like Sunday Morning by Wallace Stevens, Musee des Beaux Arts BY W.H. Auden and The Love Song of J. Alfred Profrock by T.S. Eliot. But there has always been one poem that has a different effect on me, one that leaves me throwing shadow punches and chanting “LET’S DO THIS THING!” to myself when I read it. That poem is Do Not Go Gentle Into That Good Night by Dylan Thomas.

This poem was written for his dying father and is in an uncommon format known as a villanelle. It screams of the final admonition of a son that will be losing his father shortly, an admonition in which he charges his father to not just accept the fate that is before him. It is a coming to grips with the inevitable, a catharsis if you will, in the life of a son that knows what is just around the corner for his father yet wants his father to fight on nonetheless.

I’m certain that when you read this you will understand what he is experiencing. And perhaps after you read it you’ll understand what it is that gets me so fired up when I read it.

Do Not Go Gentle Into That Good Night

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.

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