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.

–  Dylan Thomas

“Do not go gentle into that Good Night” by Dylan Thomas is a very interesting poem that deals with death, specifically that of old men as Thomas is constantly saying throughout the poem “Grave men, near Death”, “Good men, the last wave by”, “wise men at their end”, “Old age should burn”.

I would recommend this poem to year 12 because it brings up a lot of misconceptions about old age and what people feel at that time. Although it is not clear what drove him to write this poem but judging from the personal feeling of this poem it must have been because someone that was close to him and fairly old was dying of old age or he had talked to  or heard about someone that who had a battle with old age and he felt so heavily about it that he wrote this poem whatever the reason it is amazing. It really reveals what will probably happen if you reach that age which is a large contrast to the stereotype that you will want to die when you get old and that you will peacefully pass into the next life which this poem completely upends and says that may not happen and that most people still don’t want to die even at such an age were death is likely.

“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” there are two lines in the poem that are repeated multiple times in the poem for extra emphasis, which are “Do not go gentle into the Good Night” which is the title of the poem and “Rage, rage against the dying of the light” these both have similar meanings one is a tad more extreme than the other. The first says to “not go gentle into that good night” which is basically saying to not just slip away into death, to not just give in to the cold embrace of death, the latter says to “Rage, rage against the dying of the light” which is to fight with everything you have against death, to do everything in your power to prevent your transition into the afterlife to not just resist death but to force it back from whence it came. “Old age should burn and rave at close of day,” This refers to dying of old age where your body is too old and broken to deal with the things trying to destroy it and the poem says that it should “burn and rave at close of day” close of day obviously referring to death where light (life) turns to darkness (death) which are both common analogies for life and death and then the author says to “burn and rave” which are both  involved with fire and violence. The burning could refer to the fact that when night falls a fire can be lit to extend the working day or, as the author is putting it, extend your own life by burning and raving when you are near death as it may extend life.

“Though wise men at their end know dark is right,” Old men are often referred to as “wise”, again this line is using the light = life  dark = death stereotype/cliche, so basically this line is saying that old men near death know that dying is the right thing to do and that it is inevitable they still don’t want to go this is because “Because their words had forked no lightning they”. This is an interesting analogy but I believe that when Thomas says “forked no lightning” he is saying that they haven’t done everything they wanted to and that they have regrets about their actions so the reason they do not want to die is because they still have things they wanted to do that they never ended up achieving their “words” when they said that they would do something have “forked no lightning” lightning always forks so lightning that fails to fork is not really lightning which is what this is saying that these men said they would fork or do something but when they are approaching death they don’t want to go because their lightning has not forked/their verbal goal has not been completed.

“Good men, the last wave by,” this is again another allusion to men dying the “Good men” being those that are about to die and “the last wave by” referring to them giving their last acknowledgement before they leave to the afterlife. “crying how bright” this is referring to the fact that these good men are crying at how ‘bright’ “Their frail deeds might have danced in a green bay,” this is saying that these good men are crying about how bright, how good of a person they could’ve been had their ‘deeds’ not been so frail and weak that they may have been dancing in a “green bay” green being the other colour for life as most plants if not all are green. So the good men men are crying because their frail deeds could’ve been that much stronger had they been done in a green bay which is full of life and they regret that fact that they didn’t.

“Wild men who caught and sang the sun in flight,” this line is probably the most optimistic line of the entire poem as it is saying that there are wild men that “caught and sang the sun in flight” this alludes to two different things that are very similar one is that the sun is one of the oldest images of life and it again alludes to the day = life night = death cliche therefore saying that these wild men “caught and sang” in life while it was still there/ they made the most out of their lives. “And learn, too late, they grieved it on its way,” this line is a severe downer on the previous most optimistic line in the poem as it is saying that only when it was too late to change while they were singing with the sun that they were actually “grieving” their eventual and inevitable death

 

 

 

 

“who see with blinding sight
Blind eyes could blaze like meteors and be gay,” these lines are saying that these good men who are about to die are seeing everything is such good regard because their “blinding sight” lights up everything meaning they can see the good and life in everything which is what makes them good. The next line is talking about “Blind eyes” which is the opposite of “blinding sight” and i don’t think the author is actually talking about blind people but the fact that these people can only see darkness he is saying that their are other men who see everything dark or in other words is very pessimistic and Thomas is saying that these people “could” blaze like meteors which are always bright streaks in the sky, temporary streaks of light in the endless sea of death which is what life is like in universal time scale he always that they could “be gay” which is to be happy which is the opposite of pessimism. 

 

 

 

 

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