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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.

About the poem
This poem is about the death. Much of his work is concerned with the cycle of birth and death. His poetry is always personal. Dylan Thomas debuted with surrealistic verses, a style that seeks to express what is in the subconscious mind.
This poem was published for the first time in November 1951 in the periodical Botteghe Oscure. It is not a poem that was written quickly. He probably began writing it in 1945. He wrote it when his father was dying. His father had a hart disease. He went blind and was very ill before he died. He was in his eighties, and he grew soft and gentle at the last. That was not his style. He used to be a militant atheist, whose atheism had nothing to do with whether there was a god or not, but was a violent and personal dislike for God. When it was raining, he opened a win-dow and shouted: “It’s raining, blast Him!”. Thomas hadn’t wanted him to change and that’s why he writes “Do not go gentle into that good night”. The “good night” is of course death.
His father was an atheist, so he didn’t belief in life after death. That’s why Thomas says “The dying of the light”. After death there’s nothing but darkness... You have to fight death, rage against the dying of the light.
Thomas enumerates some qualities of his father; he was a wise man, a good man, a wild man and a grave man.

Some say he partially based this poem on a poem of William Empson:

Not your winged lust but his must now change suit
The harp-waked Casanova rakes no change
The worm is (pinpoint) rational in the fruit.

Not girl for bird (gourd being man) breaks root.
Taking no plume for index in love’s change
Not your winged lust but his must now change suit.

Desire is phosphorous: the chemic bruit
Lust bears like volts, who’ll amplify, and strange
The worm is (pin-point) rational in the fruit.

Both poems have a similar structure. He also repeats the same sentences at the end of a stro-phe: “Do not go gentle into that good night” and “Rage, rage against the dying of the light”.
Also ‘death’ comes back many times in the poem, but he tries to say it in different words; “that good night”, “close of day”, “the dying of the light”, “dark”,...
The poem has a regular rhyme scheme; aba in the first five tercets and abaa in the final quatrain. It is written in the iambic pentameter.
He uses many alliterations and assonances.

About the author
Dylan Thomas was born in Swansea, Wales, on Oct. 27, 1914. His father was a schoolteacher. His mother came from a Welsh farming family. He went to a grammar school at Swansea. At 16 he quit school and worked as a reporter and writer.
Thomas' first published poem appeared in a magazine when he was 17. In 1932 he won a po-etry prize and went to London to collect it and to meet other writers. From that time on he moved back and forth between London and Laugharne, a South Wales port. He wrote poetry in sessions of hard work between drinking bouts. His first book, called '18 Poems', was pub-lished in 1934 when he was 20. Many critics received it enthusiastically, though the general public did not like it. In 1936 he married Caitlin Macnamara. They had two sons and one daughter.
In 1938 Thomas won the Oscar Blumenthal prize awarded by Poetry magazine. His work be-gan to attract wider attention in the United States. Thomas also wrote radio scripts, film sce-narios, short stories, autobiographical sketches and two plays. He made the first of three po-etry-reading tours of the United States in 1950. He looked like an untidy, overgrown boy, short and stout, with a snub nose and tousled brown hair.
Although only 90 of his poems had been published, Thomas gained a reputation as one of the best of the younger poets writing in the English language. His principal works are 'The World I Breathe', published in 1939, 'Portrait of the Artist as a Young Dog' (1940), 'New Poems' (1942); 'Selected Writings' (1946), 'In Country Sleep' (1952), 'Collected Poems' (1953), 'The Doctor and the Devil' (1953), a drama entitled 'Under Milk Wood' (1954), 'Quite Early One Morning' (1954) and 'Adventures in the Skin Trade and Other Stories' (1955).
He was a heavy-drinking man who seemed determined to die young. His style of writing and his way of life made people think of him as a romantic poet like Byron and Keats. His life, like theirs, was dramatic. He died in New York City on Nov. 9, 1953, and was buried at Laugharne. His death was brought on by alcoholism...

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