A poem to read in the bath… ‘Do Not Go Gentle into That Good Night’ by Dylan Thomas #poetry

Dylan Thomas’s most famous, arguably most familiar, poem is a villanelle with five stanzas of three lines followed by a single stanza of four lines, making a total of 19 lines. It is structured with two repeating rhymes, ‘Do not go gentle into that good night’ and ‘Rage, rage, against the dying of the light’. Written in 1947 when Thomas was in Florence with his family, it is popularly thought to refer to the death of his father though his father did not die until 1952. In contrast to many poems of death, popular for reading at funerals, this speaks clearly and strongly at the anger and resentment at dying.

Dylan Thomas

[photo: poetryfoundation.org]

Due to copyright restrictions, I cannot reproduce the whole poem here. Please search for the full poem in an anthology or at your local library.

‘Do Not Go Gentle into That Good Night’

Do not go gentle into that good night,
Old age should burn and race 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.

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Dylan ThomasThomas’s best known poem has been referenced frequently in popular culture. In the 1996 film Independence Day, the president gives a rousing speech to his bedraggled army as they prepare to fight the aliens, saying “We will not go quietly into the night.”
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Dylan ThomasIn the 2014 film Interstellar, the poem is quoted frequently by Michael Caine’s character, Professor John Brand, while Matthew McConaughey and Anne Hathaway are sent into hyper sleep with the words, “Do not go gentle into that good night.”
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Read these other excerpts and find a new poet to love:-
Dunt: A Poem for a Dried-Up River’ by Alice Oswald 
After a Row’ by Tom Pickard
My Mother’ by Ruby Robinson

And if you’d like to tweet a link to THIS post, here’s my suggested tweet:
A #poem to read in the bath: ‘Do Not Go Gentle into That Good Night’ by Dylan Thomas https://wp.me/p5gEM4-4bZ via @SandraDanby