Do not go gentle into that good night vs. Stoicism

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.
-Dylan Thomas

Before I truly read this poem and understood what it was saying, one could say that I had a stoic view of death. We can’t control when we die, so don’t worry about it and focus on what you can control.”

On one hand it’s kind of comfortable not worrying about death but on the other hand it seems a bit inhuman. And then I realized this poem by Dylan Thomas directly contradicts Stoicism. Dylan wrote this poem while he sat by his dad’s beside, watching him die.

Dylan wanted his dad to “rage, rage against the dying of light” not roll over like a stoic. Dylan wanted his dad to fight until the last breath.

Parts of this poem hit me really hard because they’re so true. For example, “Grave men, near death, who see with blinding sight” – Dylan was aware people who are facing death or near death see with “blinding sight” and I couldn’t agree more. People that are close to death have the benefit of seeing the big picture, not the small picture that most see in their day to day lives.

Since being diagnosed with cancer, I see this – no more petty complaints about traffic or things getting done around the house. If you think about it, there really isn’t very many things worth fighting about. It’s a waste of time and energy. Better to use what little time we have in this world with the one’s we love and have fun!

I’m not going to go into a full out analysis of the poem. Suffice it to say that it’s my favorite – I wonder if it’s because my oldest son’s name is Dylan too?

One thought on “Do not go gentle into that good night vs. Stoicism

  1. Great article! It’s a strange feeling when doctors give you bad news and your eyes are opened. I refuse to go down without a fight. I have wasted a lot of time on meaningless things that will never move anyone ahead in life. With this new knowledge and insight if we all are going out at the end give everything you have to making change before we go onto the next adventure!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *