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The Intersection of Science, Art, Music & Humanities

Do Not Go Gentle Into That Good Night

Sunday, March 12, 2017


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.


Do not go gentle into that good night.

Rage, rage against the dying of the light.


Poetry dares us to break free from the safety of our cautious minds. It calls to us like wild geese. It opens our eyes and welcomes us into a world of powerful possibilities that we may have never dared to dream.   —Mary Oliver 


Poetry is nutrition for the curious mind. It can be magic because it uses common words for currency, but in a sequence and order that surprises us out of our normal speech rhythms and linear thought processes. 


The stunning Richard Burton reading above of a famous Dylan Thomas poetic villanella seems appropriate for today's Sunday Morning Stop at the Intersection of Science, Art, Music and Humanities.


Thomas penned this poem for his father who was going blind at the time. The dying of the light is a reference to darkness, ultimately failing health and the inevitability of death.


Poetry scholars credit this Thomas poem with addressing rage over the gradual loss of passion for life, as well as ill-planned metaphoric crossings of the Rubicon (irrevocable steps toward a point of no return). 



Ellen Troyer with Spencer Thornton, MD, David Amess and the Biosyntrx staff


A villanelle in literature is a 19-line poetic form consisting of five tercets (first 15 lines) followed by a quatrain (last four lines), and a repeat couplet at the end of the quatrain for additional emphasis.