Still Relevant Today: “Do Not Go Gentle Into That Good Night”

Dylan Thomas probably didn’t realize the poem he’d written would have such universal and long-lasting appeal — but here we are in 2019, and the lines are as relevant as they’ve ever been. Then again, whereas it might always be interpreted to mean those who are at death’s door should always fight the urge to give in and go to their graves quietly, it can also be taken another way.

No matter the obstacle in front of you; no matter how bleak; no matter how unbreakable, unstoppable, or insurmountable it seems: do not remain complacent. Fight the good fight no matter what.

Here is the poem in its entirety:


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.


Today, there’s an irony to those verses when you take them at face value. The “wise people” aren’t necessarily our elders. These days the wise people are the youth — the ones truly fighting for our future based on facts and empirical knowledge rather than the fruitless struggle of keeping the status quo the same. Then again, depending on your view of society, there are many who see the current president as the wisest leader of all (but we won’t comment on that).

Of course the artists among us will always continue toward the path of knowledge and reality over falseness and darkness. Words will continue to create powerful changes in our world even though, sooner or later, more might be required. What does the world hold in store for us? It’s anyone’s guess!