Rage against the dying of the light

By Tom on September 2, 2016 — 2 mins read

Dylan Thomas’s poem; an ode to his own dying father, has long been one of my favourites. It speaks to me deeply about the struggle for survival; pressing on to live as long as we can in the face of death, despite suffering or fear.

I’ve long thought of the poem as capturing humanity’s struggle. Our collective strive for a better life, for less misery; a hopeful future. I loved its use in the film “Interstellar”, the perfect verse to accompany our desperate reach for a new home amongst the stars.

As my father lay dying in a hospital bed, his body fighting to the last. his family around him, willing his every breath. I again thought of Dylan’s poem. This time in the context of a single life and the deeply primal way it fights to endure. Life is taken. It also spoke to my own struggle, my own rage at a life taken too early and too suddenly. His strength and dignity, his unwillingness to give in left a lasting impression on me in the hours and days and weeks since. We must all strive, always. Life must go on.

It was an immense privilege to close my fathers eulogy by reading the poem to a room of those that loved him. To be able to share this with my dad as he drifted into his own good night.

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.

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.

–Dylan Thomas

One day, perhaps, I’ll again be able to read those verses without tears. Oh, Dad.

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~ fin ~