Resources on poetry by the poets themselves

Dylan Thomas: Do Not go Gentle into that good night or sometimes only rage will do!

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. Reading Dylan Thomas for A Level and never encountered before except for Richard Burton''s Under Milk Wood which my dad adored.

What monumental rage! Like King Kong when he is on Broadway and looking for his girl throwing away all the fake blonde pretenders to his soulmate...

Find the poem very gritty and distinctly awkward. Muscular poetry I suppose and passionate grief which knocks me over.

I don't necessarily want this to be the death of anyone I love as it is so resistant to leaving life,to letting go. It lacks peace. Yet its lack of peace yields up its grandeur too. For it is passionately attached to life. It affirms our uniqueness and our intimacies. It communicates 'don't leave me' over and over again. Bravely, loudly and vulnerably.

Relentless tenderness that burns...

Not a lukewarm writer in any way and intensely captures the flattening, abject rage of watching someone you love leave you much too soon.

Makes you think about your emotional contribution to this planet!



Sometimes only rage will do.

My father was Welsh and his favourite listening was Richard Burton reading Under Milk Wood on an LP that has long been lost. My father was a wanderer in so many ways and on Sunday I found a letter I had written to him nearly 28 years ago when he was again living somewhere else, trying to build once again another new life, having no knowledge whatsoever, that within two years he would be dead. Reading the poem this morning to my son as he ate his cereal for school, I was suddenly aware of my father and aware of his own profound sorrow about his tragically early death; his wrongful attachments to careless people whose sincerity proved unenduring and illusory and whom he loved because he didn't dare to love himself at all.

In the poem the sense of visceral despair at the father's impending mortality is spat out in this villanelle, where the poet tries to order his father's life force to resist his illness and fight back for life.How ironic the 'good night' might be when what it represents is desertion, the abject loneliness of being the one left behind. The final stanza declares the desolate desperation of the poet for any communication from his father, be it savage or sane enough to save him from the dying light.

Dylan Thomas was a poet who got so many things wrong in his life and perhaps even in his Art. Yet here he is absolutely right.

Sometimes only rage will do.