I’ve just finished reading a collection of poems by the Welsh poet and writer, Dylan Thomas. I enjoy branching out into different genres, so I decided to dabble in some poetry recently. Here’s one of his most famous poems, Do Not Go Gentle Into That Good Night, which I’m sure many are familiar with (most recently cited in the movie, Interstellar):

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.

 

From the digging I’ve done so far, it seems that this was written for his dying father. Of course this poem has many interpretations, but the most widely known interpretation is that Dylan Thomas is urging everyone (and more personally to his father in the last section) to “rage against the dying of the light,” or in other words, fight against our inevitable deaths for as long as we can. Perhaps Thomas is urging us to live fully, and refrain from quietly fizzling out like a candle, but rather go out in a burning flame. Death is the ultimate equalizer – it comes for us all. For me personally, this poem is urging us to live our lives as fully as possible, for death will come for us all, so make the time until then as worthwhile as possible.

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