Dylan Thomas

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

Do Not Go Gentle Into That Good Night - Poem by 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.
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Form: Villanelle

Comments about Do Not Go Gentle Into That Good Night by Dylan Thomas

  • 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

    4 person liked.
    1 person did not like.
  • Goran Gustafsson (2/20/2009 11:49:00 AM)

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

  • 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

  • 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

  • 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

  • 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

  • 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

  • Eddie Budd (8/8/2008 11:33:00 AM)

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

  • 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

  • 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

  • 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

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

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

  • Sara Neame (4/24/2008 7:40:00 AM)

    This is so strong, it really moves me. I think the message is not that we can defy death, but that we should not sit and meekly await it, but live our lives to the full to the last moment. Hopefully we can all be able to do that! (Report) Reply

  • Ana Monnar (2/29/2008 11:56:00 PM)

    WOW would be a great word to describe this poem. (Report) Reply

  • Gee Taylor (2/13/2008 6:12:00 AM)

    Favourite poem and poet from my school days (1971) . Noticed no comments on the religious undertone of last verse ie which father is he mentioning? Just a thought. (Report) Reply

  • Edward Quinn (12/12/2007 4:20:00 PM)

    This poem has inspired me since I first read it many years ago. As my life moves on its meaning grows stronger. I do not believe Thomas was defying death. Rather he was crushed by the sight of seeing his father being cut down by its inevitability. His wish was to see his father strong to the end. (Report) Reply

  • Edgar Eslit (9/7/2007 2:14:00 AM)

    Saint Francis of Assisi got his “transitus” welcoming death and called it 'sister death”. In contrary, Dylan Thomas is asking his father to fight and go against it. “Rage, rage against the dying of the light” so goes the last line of his poem, Do Not Go Gentle Into That Good Night. No one escapes death but if we are to follow Dylan’s logic; he seemed to be ensuing that death can be defied. No body can. With these two uncompromising ideas, humility is what I’ve learn. It’s such a perspective which could have been thrown to trash without them. (Report) Reply

  • James Milks (9/6/2007 12:08:00 PM)

    This poem has always been a favorite of mine; poems like this one with the power and conviction of the writer are what interested me in poetry in the first place. I can still see Rodney Daingerfield’s powerful reading of this poem in “Back to School” and I actually took part of the line that Daingerfield had used (with full credit of course) when asked what the poem meant to him he said “..I don’t take shit from no one.” (yes I used the word shit in a college paper) and to me that is exactly what it means you don’t just take anything, not even death from anybody. (Report) Reply

  • Francois Hoon (7/10/2007 6:13:00 PM)

    What a great poem - it contains wisdom of life. Life should not be a struggle to arrive safely at death, for then you have not lived. Get as much out of it as possible, because we only have one, and it is short.
    http: //www.poemhunter.com/francois-hoon (Report) Reply

  • Verushka Naidoo (5/9/2007 12:56:00 AM)

    I was introduced to this poem at school, about 12 years ago and although 'old english' was hard to absorb this poem was one of the few that have stayed with me through the years. (Report) Reply

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