Comments on the Year: Do Not Go Gentle Into That Good Night 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. 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 grieve 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.
The old year is dying and it has never quite moved me. This is intellectual, mostly. I understand. A couple centuries ago, the year started in March, much to the annoyance of genealogists. It has not moved me, also, as it is seldom a holiday for me. Entertainers and healthcare workers infrequently have two holidays in a row. I choose Christmas if I can.
Thomas’ poem has always been, by odd coincidence, a marker of the dying of the year, for me, as it was on a recording, which included his reading of a Welsh Christmas, played in my parents’ house half a century ago. This is a good sentiment for a year’s end. We should all see the dimming of the year as an indictment of ourselves, what we failed to do, failed to see, refused to accept, and continued in knowing error. I hope we all do better in the next year.