1951 | Wales

Protest Song

Dylan Thomas rages against the dying of the light.

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.

© 1952, Dylan Thomas. Used with permission of New Directions Publishing Corp.

Contributor

Dylan Thomas

“Do Not Go Gentle into That Good Night.” The poet’s father died the following year. Thomas began working for a newspaper at the age of sixteen in 1931, and two years later he achieved his first major poetical success with “And Death Shall Have No Dominion.” Between 1930 and 1934, he composed in one form or another around half of the ninety poems he would publish in his lifetime. On a U.S. speaking tour in 1952, Thomas said that people attended to see “a little fat man come to make a fool of himself.” He died at the age of thirty-nine in 1953.