Tuesday, February 01, 2005

Lammas invocation

Dylan Thomas’ “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.

Analysis by Linda Sue Grimes, Classic Poetry Aide

Subject:
Dylan Thomas’ father had been a robust, militant man most of his life, and when in his eighties, he became blind and weak, his son was disturbed seeing his father become “soft” or “gentle.” In the poem Thomas is rousing his father to continue being the fierce man he had previously been.

Commentary:
A villanelle is a French poetic form that originally served as a vehicle for pastoral, simple, and light verse. That Thomas would employ that form for the subject of death enhances the irony of beseeching a dying person to rage. No doubt the poet also chose this form because of the repetition of the important lines, “Do not go gentle into that good night” and “Rage, rage against the dying of the light” and because of the tight formal structure of the form. The subject matter which is the command to the father not to accept death so easily lends itself to the dichotomy of “day” and “night” which become somewhat symbolic for “life” and “death” in the poem.

Each of the six stanzas has uniformity and a specific purpose:
Stanza 1: The first line is a command, “Do not go gentle into that good night.” Paraphrased, “Don’t give up easily.” The second line offers the speaker’s belief that even when old and infirm, the man should stay energetic and even bitch and whine if necessary as long as he does not give in to death easily. Then line three again is a command, “Rage, rage against the dying of the light”: Fight, complain, rail against the oncoming of death.

Omg, Brian on Queer as Folk, dragging himself across the finish line of the Liberty Ride 2004, is the dying sun god of Lammas?! ;-)

2 Comments:

Blogger Sebastian Aristos said...

A very, very beuatiful 'Lamaas-tic' (like 'fantaas-tic') blog entru Claire. Very nice to see the analysis accompanying the poem, to further enhance your readers' appreciation. Now that seasonal affective disorder is really setting in, something like this is needed to entertain us. If you want to link a web site with biographical information about the post, and a picture of him with which to illustrate your blog, see : http://www.dylanthomas.com/ Otherwise, top marks. Keep up the excellent work, Ms. Asgif !

Cool comment about Brian too. Unfortunatley, I missed the show. Drats, drats, and double drats ! (Hey, talking about pics - what about one of Brian ?)

10:07 am  
Blogger asgif666 said...

lol! Yeh, SAD is setting in alright....;-P

12:20 pm  

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