Tag Archives: death

A poem to read in the bath… ‘Do Not Go Gentle into That Good Night’ by Dylan Thomas #poetry

Dylan Thomas’s most famous, arguably most familiar, poem is a villanelle with five stanzas of three lines followed by a single stanza of four lines, making a total of 19 lines. It is structured with two repeating rhymes, ‘Do not go gentle into that good night’ and ‘Rage, rage, against the dying of the light’. Written in 1947 when Thomas was in Florence with his family, it is popularly thought to refer to the death of his father though his father did not die until 1952. In contrast to many poems of death, popular for reading at funerals, this speaks clearly and strongly at the anger and resentment at dying.

Dylan Thomas

[photo: poetryfoundation.org]

Due to copyright restrictions, I cannot reproduce the whole poem here. Please search for the full poem in an anthology or at your local library.

‘Do Not Go Gentle into That Good Night’

Do not go gentle into that good night,
Old age should burn and race 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.

Dylan ThomasBUY THE BOOK

Dylan ThomasThomas’s best known poem has been referenced frequently in popular culture. In the 1996 film Independence Day, the president gives a rousing speech to his bedraggled army as they prepare to fight the aliens, saying “We will not go quietly into the night.”

Dylan ThomasIn the 2014 film Interstellar, the poem is quoted frequently by Michael Caine’s character, Professor John Brand, while Matthew McConaughey and Anne Hathaway are sent into hyper sleep with the words, “Do not go gentle into that good night.”

Read these other excerpts and find a new poet to love:-
Dunt: A Poem for a Dried-Up River’ by Alice Oswald 
After a Row’ by Tom Pickard
My Mother’ by Ruby Robinson

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Great Opening Paragraph 130 ‘Gilead’ #amwriting #FirstPara

“I told you last night that I might be gone sometime, and you said, Where, and I said, To be with the Good Lord, and you said, Why, and I said, Because I’m old, and you said, I don’t think you’re old. And you put your hand in my hand and you said, You aren’t very old, as if that settled it. I told you you might have a very different life from mine, and from the life you’ve had with me, and that would be a wonderful thing, there are many ways to life a good life. And you said, Mama already told me that. And then you said, Don’t laugh! Because you thought I was laughing at you. You reached up and put your fingers on my lips and gave me that look I never in my life saw on any other face besides your mother’s. It’s a kind of furious pride, very passionate and stern. I’m always a little surprised to find my eyebrows singed after I’ve suffered one of those looks. I will miss them.”
‘Gilead’ by Marilynne Robinson Marilynne RobinsonBUY THE BOOK

Read my reviews of Gilead, Housekeeping and Home by Marilynne Robinson.

Try one of these 1st paras & discover a new author:-
Agnes Grey’ by Anne Bronte
The Big Sleep’ by Raymond Chandler
The Collector’ by John Fowles 22

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A poem to read in the bath… ‘Along the field as we came by’

Best known for A Shropshire Lad, the poems of AE Housman reflect the dooms and disappointments of youth in the English countryside. Popular throughout the Victorian and Edwardian periods running up to the Great War, this two stanza poem by Housman transitions from first romantic love to death and grief, followed by hope and new love. It was his simplicity of style that appealed, and his nostalgic nature settings.

Here is the first verse.

‘Along the field as we came by
A year ago, my love and I,
The aspen over stile and stone
Was talking to itself alone.
‘Oh, who are these that kiss and pass?
A country lover and his lass;
Two lovers looking to be wed;
And time shall put them both to bed,
But she shall lie with earth above,
And he beside another love.’


‘The Picador Book of Funeral Poems’ ed. by Don Paterson [UK: Picador]

Read these other excerpts, and perhaps find a new poet to love:-
‘Cloughton Wyke I’ by John Wedgwood Clarke
‘Elegy’ by Carol Ann Duffy
‘Sometimes and After’ by Hilda Doolittle

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Book review: The Pure in Heart

the pure in heart by susan hill 30-11-14

The nature of death, grieving and hope are examined in this, the second Simon Serrailler novel by Susan Hill. To give these books a label – thriller, crime novel, detective novel – is to underplay the complexity of the subject. It is an examination of human nature.

A nine-year boy waits by the garden gate for his lift to school, but is never seen again. A severely handicapped young woman dies. Both families struggle with grief, reacting in different ways, ways which cause tension within the family. And involved in the mix is a local man, an ex-con newly released from prison, struggling to stay straight, struggling with the prejudices of his family. Reading this book will make you examine your own prejudices, your attitude to death and dying, it will make you as ‘what would I do if…’

The small cathedral town of Lafferton is like an extra character in Susan Hill’s Serrailler novels. Surrounded by wooden hills and deep ravines, it is at once brooding and at the same time reassuring.

Read my review of the first Simon Serrailler novel The Various Haunts of Men.

If you like this, try:-
‘The Truth Will Out’ by Jane Isaac
‘No Other Darkness’ by Sarah Hilary
‘Jellyfish’ by Lev D Lewis

‘The Pure in Heart’ by Susan Hill, Simon Serrailler #2 [UK: Vintage] Buy now

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