Dylan Thomas

(27 October 1914 – 9 November 1953 / Swansea / Wales)

Do Not Go Gentle Into That Good Night


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.
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Form: Villanelle

# 20 poem on top 500 Poems



Comments about this poem (Do Not Go Gentle Into That Good Night by Dylan Thomas )

  • Rookie - 17 Points Milica Franchi De Luri (10/6/2009 11:27:00 PM)

    This type of poem is called a Villanelle; Three line stanzas where the first line of the first stanza and the last line of the first stanza are repeated alternatively in every stanza and must rhyme with each other.The middle line of the first stanza must rhyme with the middle line of every stanza.The last stanza has four lines. The last two lines are the first and the last line of the first stanza. Altogether must be nineteen lines.
    It is very difficult form to write in thi form. I wonder if Thomas has written any other Villanelles.
    This one is one the most famous Villanelles and very beautiful. (Report) Reply

    9 person liked.
    2 person did not like.
  • Rookie Arnold Godbert (5/4/2009 5:52:00 PM)

    This is a particular favourite of mine by Dylan Thomas,
    it so reminds me of that very sad December afternoon
    in 1970 a fortnight before christmas, when my father was
    taken from us, the world had changed forever. (Report) Reply

  • Rookie Kevin Straw (5/2/2009 5:42:00 AM)

    Great poem, but I prefer Yeats' attitude to old age: 'An aged man is but a paltry thing, a tattered coat upon a stick, unless soul clap its hands and sing for every tatter in its mortal dress.' I hope I clap my hands and sing when my light is dying. (Report) Reply

  • Rookie nothing over (4/27/2009 11:14:00 PM)

    Great poem, check out my poems too (Report) Reply

  • Rookie Deborah Schuff (4/22/2009 1:45:00 PM)

    This poem always brings to mind my mother. The two are intertwined and have been from the first time I read this powerful poem. (Report) Reply

  • Rookie Andrew Hoellering (4/4/2009 8:16:00 PM)

    Dylan Thomas’s most famous poem speaks to and for us all. We want those we love to ‘ rave at close of day’ and not go ‘gentle into that good night’ because it shows they love us as much as we love them.

    What continues to amaze after all these years is the originality of the images contained within the three-line stanza, with its alternating refrain.

    I know the poem by heart, but when I recite it I change the first line of the last verse to ‘And you my father, alone on the sad height.’

    I wonder whether the great Dylan would approve? (Report) Reply

  • Rookie - 0 Points Christina Smith (3/30/2009 2:13:00 AM)

    such a strong meaning! ! !
    If theres no hope at-all just

    FIGHT FIGHT FOR YOUR LIFE WHEN NO-ONE IS FIGHTING FOR YOU!
    your soul can be empty but you still fight and then YOUR ONE DAMN STRONG PERSON! ! ! ! ! (Report) Reply

  • Rookie Rico Avila (3/28/2009 6:57:00 PM)

    One of my favorite poems. I would not change a word. Changing to 'and you, my father' to 'and you're my father' hints that your father does not yet know he is your father....... (Report) Reply

  • Rookie Andrew Hoellering (3/24/2009 3:42:00 AM)

    Dylan Thomas’s most famous poem speaks to and for us all. We want those we love to ‘ rave at close of day’ and not go ‘gentle into that good night’ because it shows they love us as much as we love them.

    What continues to amaze after all these years is the originality of the images contained within the three-line stanza, with its alternating refrain.

    I know the poem by heart, but when I recite it I change the first line of the last verse to ‘And you’re my father, alone on the sad height.’

    I wonder whether the great Dylan would approve? (Report) Reply

  • Rookie - 17 Points Goran Gustafsson (2/20/2009 11:49:00 AM)

    Another Dylan, Bob Dylan wrote: 'He not busy being born is busy dying.' (Report) Reply

  • Rookie Elbert Matt Loubser (12/15/2008 4:58:00 AM)

    We handled this poem at school and I must say that it envokes emotions in even the most hard-hearted of people. The message can also be interpreted universally. (Report) Reply

  • Rookie - 0 Points Sid John Gardner. (9/26/2008 1:28:00 PM)

    Dylan Thomas MUST be one of our most talented and impressive poets of modern times.
    The intensity of his writing is a fine example of the human spirit 'Rage Rage against the night', Fine words Best listened to as 'Under milk wood. Just listen to his words narrated by Richard Burton.
    As death approaches 'Fight Fight down to the last wire'.... Do not accept the inevitible....contest it with every last breath.The message is self apparent to all red blooded people who love life...
    Sid John Gardner. (Report) Reply

  • Rookie Heba Ab (9/20/2008 9:59:00 PM)

    i really like this poem because it represents strength and fortitude in both meaning and structure. The rhyming scheme is firm which corresponds to the poet's appeals to face death with a strong fighting attitude (Report) Reply

  • Gold Star - 5,611 Points Lorraine Margueritte Gasrel Black (9/11/2008 9:39:00 PM)

    I see Dylan saying that we should live life to it's last breath.The last two lines say it all. (Report) Reply

  • Rookie Nceba Sam (9/8/2008 4:26:00 AM)

    I used(still do) love this poem from my school years(can even say it by heart) . My view on what Dylan is implying on this poem is, we mustn't fold hands and wait for death to come and play it's role but we must must make the best of the time we have as much as we can. I complement this poem with 'Death Be Not Proud' (Report) Reply

  • Rookie Eddie Budd (8/8/2008 11:33:00 AM)

    Who put 'delet this message' in red on my comment, and why? ! ! ! ! (Report) Reply

  • Rookie Gur Liraz (8/7/2008 9:42:00 AM)

    Dave, he isn't addresing the dying he is addressing the living, Thomas thinks
    the living should revolt against death. Arousing anger in dying people is not the goal here but rather to object the banal and meaningless end that death represents to most.
    Beautifully writen as always! ! ! (Report) Reply

  • Rookie Dave Rainbow (6/28/2008 10:19:00 PM)

    Thomas writes a great villanelle, but although this is commonly (and rightly) associated with his dying father, I don't think it is commonly known what Dylan was really saying, and why.

    I've heard it supposed that this was written to encourage his father, but Dylan wrote himself:

    'the only person I can't show [it] to is, of course, my father, who doesn't know he's dying'


    Instead, on reading Paul Ferris' biography of Thomas, I am drawn to another conclusion.

    As a child, Dylan was well used to his father's various tirades, and thought these somehow magnificent, as only a son can of his father. But as D J Thomas aged, and illness affected him, he mellowed. Dylan regretted that; and his desire in writing this poem is to remember the tyrant of his youth, and call him back. Thus I think that for Dylan Thomas this poem did not have quite the meaning that almost everyone else has put upon it ever since, where the intent is simply to challenge anyone to rail against death at the end of life.

    But even this is a questionable intent. If the reader has sat with the dying, as I and many others have, I would ask, did you ever once feel that this was a useful sentiment to encourage the dying to express? I think not. And thus, despite the magnificent execution of this poem, its sentiments are both commonly misunderstood, and, even when one misunderstands them in a generous way, I don't think that these sentiments are of any help to the dying or those who are with them. They just sound manificent to everyone else. (Report) Reply

  • Rookie Eddie Budd (5/24/2008 4:57:00 AM)

    Anthony Hopkins recited this moving poem in St Pauls' Cathedral, London at the funeral ceremony of the late Sir Laurence Olivier.

    I have taken the (sic) liberty of altering the first verse to describe a photograph of a youth watching the sun going down on a spectacular sunset in Western Australia.

    'Do go gently into that good night,
    Young age will burn and rave at close of day;
    Wonder, wonder at the dying of the light.' (Report) Reply

  • Rookie Lauren Conrad (5/6/2008 6:27:00 PM)

    One of the most accessible, deeply felt pieces in existence. (Report) Reply



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