Do Not Go Gently Into That Goodnight

Do not go gentle into that good night” is a poem in the form of a villanelle by Welsh poet Dylan Thomas (1914–1953); it has been described as his most famous work. Though first published in the journal Botteghe Oscure in 1951, the poem was written in 1947 while Thomas visited Florence with his family. Subsequent publication, along with other Thomas works, include In Country Sleep, And Other Poems (1952) and Collected Poems, 1934–1952 (Dent, 1952).

It has been suggested that the poem was written for Thomas’s dying father, although he did not die until just before Christmas 1952. It has no title other than its first line, “Do not go gentle into that good night”, a line that appears as a refrain throughout the poem along with its other refrain, “Rage, rage against the dying of the light”. The poem currently remains under copyright,  although the text is available online.

Thunderbolt

Thunderbolt

Do Not Go Gently Into That Goodnight

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

By Dylan Thomas