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  #1  
Unread 04-13-2020, 07:44 AM
Jim Moonan Jim Moonan is offline
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Default The poem that woke me

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We'd be remiss if this wasn't among these…


Do not go gentle into that good night
Dylan Thomas - 1914-1953

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.
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Last edited by Jim Moonan; 04-13-2020 at 07:51 AM.
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  #2  
Unread 04-13-2020, 07:13 PM
Tim McGrath Tim McGrath is offline
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If writers fail, it is because their words have "forked no lightning."
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  #3  
Unread 04-13-2020, 10:55 PM
Julie Steiner Julie Steiner is offline
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Good men, the last wave by, crying how bright
Their frail deeds might have danced in a green bay,


That bit always makes me think of this.
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  #4  
Unread 04-14-2020, 02:13 AM
Tim McGrath Tim McGrath is offline
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He might have been a Packer fan.
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  #5  
Unread 04-14-2020, 07:55 AM
Roger Slater Roger Slater is offline
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To which his father says, "Dylan, make up your mind. Should I curse you, or should I bless you? Why do you insist on confusing a dying man?"
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  #6  
Unread 04-14-2020, 02:11 PM
Jim Moonan Jim Moonan is offline
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x
My universe is cozy : )
Some say he was thinking only of himself.
Strange bedfellows this.
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  #7  
Unread 04-18-2020, 07:07 PM
Tim McGrath Tim McGrath is offline
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Thomas wrote one of those thousand-year poems, a poem so good that no one will write a better one for at least a thousand years. I had the same experience with Yeats. "These Are The Clouds" revealed to me what a great poem can be.

It starts out majestically:

These are the clouds about the fallen sun,
The majesty that shuts his burning eye


And then gets even better:

The weak lay hand on what the strong have done
Till that be tumbled that was lifted high
And discord follow upon unison
And all things at one common level lie


This was written in 1916, a good year for Yeats and for Irish independence.

Last edited by Tim McGrath; 04-18-2020 at 08:46 PM.
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  #8  
Unread 04-19-2020, 08:59 PM
Roger Slater Roger Slater is offline
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Tim, I think in the less-than-a-thousand years since that poem was written there have been superior poems, though perhaps none as famous. Dylan Thomas himself has written better poems, in my opinion. I think "Fern Hill" is hugely superior, for example.
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  #9  
Unread 04-20-2020, 03:45 AM
Tim McGrath Tim McGrath is offline
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Roger, I know that I won't convince you otherwise, so I won't try. "Fern Hill" is a lovely poem, as is "In My Craft or Sullen Art." The latter, especially, stayed with me for many years, though maybe not a thousand.

On second thought, I will say this. "Do Not Go Gentle" is a much tighter poem than "Fern Hill," which has many lines, phrases, and whole stanzas that could be altered in some way, or even deleted. This looseness, in my opinion a defect, is also characteristic of Thomas, who often went for sound over sense. So many of his poems are lushly written, a quality embellished by his brogue, but are deficient in other ways that matter.

Last edited by Tim McGrath; 04-20-2020 at 06:38 AM.
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  #10  
Unread 04-20-2020, 08:25 AM
Roger Slater Roger Slater is offline
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I don't see anything in Fern Hill that I would delete. And I think DNGG is burdened by being too message-y, with the message failing to resonate with those who might want a dying loved one to go as gentle as possible. Its main selling point is the reader's admiration of the craft of his sullen art as he perfectly fulfills the French form and exploits it to the fullest. It's a great poem, mind you. I don't deny it. But Fern Hill can stand beside Wordsworth's immortality ode (as I know because the two poems were paired together by my excellent high school teacher who introduced us to Fern Hill). Anyway, I won't convince you, but I've convinced myself just now be rereading Fern Hill. It's simply dazzlingly beautiful. I mean, you have to love,

So it must have been after the birth of the simple light
In the first, spinning place, the spellbound horses walking warm
.... Out of the whinnying green stable
........ On to the fields of praise.
,

don't you?
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