Do Not Go Gentle

Forum dedicated to form in poetry, classical and new, and a discussion of poetic forms and poets.
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heinzs
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Do Not Go Gentle

Post by heinzs » Thu Mar 31, 2005 9:59 am

This is by far my favorite poem. It is a Villanelle by Dylan Thomas.

DO NOT GO GENTLE INTO THAT GOOD NIGHT
Dylan Thomas



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.


The classic Villanelle does not require the repetition of entire lines, only the limited rhymes (aba in the 5 tercets and abaa in the final quartet). The manner in which Thomas crafted this poem also makes it a poem with mantric qualities, hammering the repeated lines into the reader's psyche.

The line repetition form Thomas used here is reminiscent of the traditional Pantoum...
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Richard taylor

Post by Richard taylor » Thu Mar 31, 2005 10:24 pm

wonderful poem and your comments are very intresting
richard

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Post by TheHumanoid » Fri Apr 01, 2005 1:21 pm

Heinz I must agree with you. I love this poem as well. It has been a favorite of mine ever since I had to read it about five years ago in college.
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Post by heinzs » Fri Apr 01, 2005 4:51 pm

I had the distinct pleasure once of hearing it recited by Dylan himself... I think around the same time he recorded his "A Child's Christmas in Wales". For a prose piece, that is one of the most poetic writings in the English language.

http://www.bfsmedia.com/MAS/Dylan/Christmas.html
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Post by bags123 » Mon Apr 04, 2005 9:27 am

Do not go gentle into that good fight
Your rage should burn and rave I always say
Rage, rage against the losing of the fight

Though old men at their end know which is right
Because their words have irked the fighting they
Do not go gentle into that good fight

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Heinz

Post by Debbie » Sun Jun 05, 2005 5:31 am

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.
I'm not that familiar with all these classical ones..but this was one I liked..
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Post by Moongem » Sun Jun 05, 2005 2:41 pm

I believe I will try this form, next, it produces, with repeated emphasis, an imparting of 'learning', not only in the form and rhyme scheme, but with Dylan's accent on the wise and the wild equaling his father, and, in perpetuity, all Man, in not realizing how sweet life really is in blindness of third-eye sight.

And, in the end, 'all Men' go into the Light, it seems, with an epiphany unknown to living Man, eye uncovered. Therefore, rage, at the end of 'this' life, do not go gentle into the night.

For what it's worth, anyway, I haven't read too many of the classics in terms of studying their context.

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Post by Eternum 1 » Sun Jun 05, 2005 4:12 pm

The appeal of this favorite also reminds me in many ways of "She walks in beauty" by Byron which is Richards favorite if I recall correctly.

Both Thomas and Byron are incomparable wordsmiths whose works are often complete capsules of literary perfection.

DT does pose a philosophical dilemma here. Does one accept death, or try to rage against it? I'm caught in the paradox myself although living forever is not an option I'd choose either.

I know Dylan Thomas wrote this to his father to fight against death: "Do not go gentle into that good night". As the wise might rage against death until they have the answers they sought in life and proof their journey has purpose, so could I "rage against the dying of the light".

Will I and will you is the unasked question.

This poem was also read for John F Kennedy and it suits that time in my mind and the belief that "good men" are taken despite our rage against death and a promise of Camelot unfulfilled.

Grave men I believe are those who understand death but are not willing to accept it. They are burdened with this understanding of death. Poets like DT come under the category of grave men who "see with blinding sight"
"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."
The good father and his grave poet son. No wonder we relate so well.

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Post by TheHumanoid » Sun Sep 11, 2005 8:39 pm

I just wanted to add something about this poem. I am currently teaching a poetry unit with my 8th grade students. The first week was about learning the literary terms, (i.e. metaphors, alliterations, couplets, etc...). Last week, we studied Form in poetry, which is where this comment fits in. I am doing cooperative learning, where I break the kids into groups and they each learn a certain form in poetry and then they come back to teach everyone what they've learned. I have about ten different forms going on. One of them being the Villanelle. Of course, I didn't pass up the opportunity to use "Do Not Go Gentle Into That Good Night" as an example of a Villanelle. Well, I have to say, every group that I have given that poem to has absolutely eaten it up. It has provided them with some amazing disuccions on fathers, death and the male role. I just wanted to reinforce the fact that this poem is by far one of the most underrated pieces of artwork in history and it's a shame that no literature book of mine has published it. I couldn't believe the discussions my kids were having and I owe it all to the craft of Dylan Thomas.
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heinzs
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Post by heinzs » Mon Sep 12, 2005 12:41 am

:cool: :cool: :cool:
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Post by AlluraD » Mon Sep 12, 2005 10:18 am

Thank you for sharing this one...such a gift to have memory gently nudged. This was one of my father's favorite poems...I gave him a small volume of "A Child's Christmas In Wales" once, very long ago...it was a gift he cherished...more because it meant enough to me to give it to him I think. He was a very proud Welshman.
Classical poetry is achingly beautiful to me. Thank you again~
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Post by ninian » Tue Sep 13, 2005 9:13 pm

oh i'm glad you posted this heinzs, i, too, love it...

i've also heard it recited by Thomas, amazing...

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heinzs
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Post by heinzs » Mon Jan 16, 2006 8:44 pm

:cool:
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me and the king

Post by me and the king » Wed Jan 18, 2006 8:45 am

Dylan Tomas is a nice poet
one of my favorite
glad to see him here
thanks

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Post by negatvone » Wed Jan 18, 2006 8:49 am

This has always been one of my favorite pens. If I remember correctly, I posted this one in the Open Discussion topic I started dubbed "Post A Link". Excellent choice for an example, Heinz.

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