From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

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 that 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.


Thomas watched his father, formerly in the Army, grow weak and frail with old age. Thus, the speaker in his poem tries to convince his father to fight against imminent death. The speaker addresses his father using wise men, good men, wild men, or serious, somber men as examples to illustrate the same message: that no matter how they have lived their lives or what they feel at the end they should die fighting. It is one of Thomas’ most popular, most easily accessible poems, and implies that one should not die without fighting for one’s life, or after life. [1]

Another explication is that the speaker admits that death is unavoidable, but encourages all men to fight death. This is not for their own sake, but to give closure and hope to the kin that they will leave behind. To support this, he gives examples of wise men, good men, wild men, and grave men to his father, who was dying at the time this poem was written. There is little textual evidence for this interpretation, however, except the words “curse, bless me now with your fierce tears, I pray.” Also, it has been historically stated that Thomas never showed this poem to his father; if so, it would seem that Thomas composed it more for his own benefit than his father’s.

A third reading of the poem observes the possibility that the speaker’s listing of various reactions of men in their final hours is a self-addressed rationalization of his father’s scolding catharsis before passing on. The line “Curse, bless, me now with your fierce tears, I pray,” might then suggest a negative interaction between the two generations, and because historical evidence leads readers to believe that the poet never in fact showed this poem to his father, it would not be ridiculous to think that Thomas wrote the poem knowing that his father was not the designated audience at all. He cites all of human beings’ rage, regardless of disposition, against death, and perhaps attempts to write off this negative interaction as a natural byproduct of death’s impending arrival.

Another reading of this poem shows the author’s own fear of death. He seems to fear having little separation between life and death such as in John Donne’s poem “A Valediction: Forbidding Mourning”, where:

“As virtuous men pass mildly away,

And whisper to their souls to go,

Whilst some of their sad friends do say,

“Now his breath goes,” and some say, “No.”[1]

It shows the author’s fear that there is very little that separates life from death. As such he feels the need for a strong indication of the difference between the two. It does not even matter whether he is being blessed or cursed, he wants to see a reaction (l. 17). The poem could be written as well in the hope that the speaker would be able to see his dying father. He gives the impression that since wise men, good men, wild men and grave men all regret leaving this world his father as well should not be wanting to leave this world without a fight. It seems to be a wild hope, that he will be able to see his father before he passes; that each will be able to say those last words to each other – whether curses or blessings.


COMMENTARY: Also, from Wikipedia: “The term MORT GAGE comes from the Old French “dead pledge,” apparently meaning that the pledge ends (DIES) either when the obligation is fulfilled or the property is taken through FORECLOSURE.”

I’ve long been aware that the MORT of ‘mortgage’ means or comes from the root ‘DEATH.’ Many of us are fighting valiantly to prevent the DEATH of our American Dream through FORECLOSURE, a dying of the light against which we must RAGE.

Wasn’t our pledge – our GAGE – which we supported with our toil, sweat and sacrifice, after all, aggregated into a pool of assets that could be leveraged, sometimes egregiously, seventy to one, and ignited to produce explosive and insured profits totally disproportionate to what we put at risk? Did we MORTgagors participate or benefit from these excesses?

We should ‘not go gentle into that good night.’ We should accede neither to short sales nor to loan modifications that strip us of our rights.

Nor should we hand back the keys and walk away from a just fight, if our claim is superior or equity requires we stand our ground or firmly push back.

Remind those who took and parlayed our pledges- upon which we built our dreams – that to come with unclean hands and ask that justice be done, they too must do justice!

For countless millions, this presently is nothing short of a life and death struggle. Do not GO GENTLE! Rage, RAGE!

Do not go gentle into that good night.
Rage, rage against the dying of the light


5 Responses

  1. […] Keep Your Home (it IS Yours): DO NOT GO GENTLE INTO THAT GOOD NIGHT […]

  2. I just want to say that i was brought to tears by the poem and the first reply from Juli. I lost my family home shortly after watching my grandma take her last breath inside that very home where i was raised and lived 34 years. I fought so hard against every which way Aames Home Loan, as they sold the loan lock, stock and barrel to EMC (whoever the heck they were) which in turn demanded full payment! I had no idea it was illiegal but i tried and i lost and now the home has sat vacant and now is a total wreck all for what? I would still be in that home with the rose beds and pear tree instead of dead cats and weeds 5ft tall, no windows, doors, aluminum siding, interior empty! It has been like that for 5yrs now, just a damn shame!

  3. I am filled with emotion reading this poem and analysis.

    Just last week I stood by the side of my dearly loved Aunt, my Spiritual Director, my ear to listen to any issue, my companion in a quest for God, the mystical, Artistic, Intelligent, Poetic, Musical, Beautiful, Quantum Soup, that is our World, and we Curiously
    view. Discussing Great Movies, Family Recipes, and my Children.

    I spent time whether by phone or in person, with this very special woman, until this whole HOUSE thing landed on my chest. She was not the only one I virtually lost roughly 3 yrs ago. For since then my life has been filled with this.

    I stood by her bedside while she took her last breath, 2 or more hours I got to talk, though she was on Morphine and asleep, I knew she could hear me. I wished that I could have handed my world and the world that consumed my life, how many hours of my life I have lost.

    Time lost which should have been spent with my children, family and friends. It seems I have all but cease to exist, but for my up to 20 hours in one day, spent trying to save my home. Fighting against my very attorneys, who neglegently disregard my case, more harm than good. Most of this time I have spent doing all the research I can.
    As soon as I learn something new, they pull another trick. Usually what at least appears to be illegal, to me.

    In the end, since they have the back up of tough talking lawyers, and $$$, the truth may not avail. Already the judge says
    ??Rescission, you still owe someone the money. Standing???? NOTE? Your honour, I said, I may not be using all the proper terminology, forgive me, I will try and be clear. He replied, that’s why you get a lawyer. But, I said to him, I have spent all my lawyer money already. I don’t have anymore.

    Now, 2 ;plus years after my last payment to the original Mortgage Co. I question myself. Would I have been much better off had I never faught at all? I always answer that question the same. Perhaps my life and that of my kids, living God knows where, whould be good by now. At least I would know where I would be in one month. But NO, I would not be better off, I have learned so much, though my kids have hurt, and so have I, sometimes I hurt just knowing what it does to them. So bad at times I can’t see the next day. and still NO, I would not have been better off had I walked away. I will fight for what is my childrens’ home, and future, to sell when they go to college to fund their schooling.
    I cannot just walk away, no matter how hard it is.

    Now, my battle field is a foreclosure court. I decided instead of going with the loser lawyer who is presently damaging all I have done, in the short but long 7 months he has been there, he has done NOTHING. missed 5 meetings with me, cancelled 2 deps, last minute, won’t give me back the file they promised they would copy and send right back to me. He threatens me by mail, he says I missed deps, even though we communicated by email, he twists the truth. Spins I should say. He is, I imagine, just not qualified. He sits and waits, I offered, he did not want to handle the foreclosure. My intention is to fight my case there. I don’t know how I will deal with the other parties, since the foreclosing party is different , I believe in name only, another trick, I may still have a case with the civil suit. This I will handle leisurely, with the fear of loss of foreclosure behind me. Hopefully after I have won.

    So I say, if you can handle it, and I barely can, never give up. I would not be able to look at myself, if I did not do all I can.

    My Aunt was supportive of my fight, so very few people can appreciate this. I know she is with me in spirit while I do what I need to do. I know she understood why I was unable to spend the time with her.

  4. Thank you for such a wonderful piece .

    I was very inspired by both poems.

    I am fighting to keep my home . Thanks to Mr. Garfield and folks like you Mr.Allan . You both give wind to my sails.
    Thank you both…

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