Following my posts about Kubla Khan and Because of You, this is the third post about some of my favourite poems. Like Kubla Khan, my introduction to this poem came via Frankie Goes To Hollywood. The poem is Do Not Go Gentle Into That Good Night (also known as Rage, Rage Against the Dying of the Light) by Dylan Thomas and it helped to inspire the Frankie single Rage Hard (as Holly Johnson discusses in his book A Bone in My Flute). Given that I am writing a book about Frankie and their fans at the moment and have recently done a post about the album Liverpool (which Rage Hard is on), the timing of this post is quite appropriate (also I mentioned Rage Hard in a post about Japanese pop magazines due to a bizarre coincidence that occurred).
The pop-up version of the Rage Hard single makes the link between the song and Thomas’ poem very clear.
The timing of this post is also appropriate for another reason. As I recently posted about, my father, Peter Hood, passed away in May and the funeral was held at the start of June. Although he had a funeral plan to cover costs, he hadn’t actually planned any aspects of the funeral itself. This led to the family discussing and putting together a variety of things – including the choice of music at the start and end of the service (which led to me listening to much more jazz and big band music than I would normally do as I hunted down the most appropriate tracks) and also a poem to be read at the funeral. Do Not Go Gentle Into That Good Night was the first suggestion made by mother – reflecting how my father kept battling. This was an easy one for me to agree with due to its Frankie link (perhaps my loud playing of Rage Hard had even had its own influence!). Luckily, I was not the one to read the poem at the funeral as I fear that I may have gone off onto the song lyrics, or even worse (particularly given how tone deaf I am) I may have started singing (instead, I did part of the tribute, much of which is included in my blog post about my father).
Now I admit, I did not know the full version of Do Not Go Gentle Into That Good Night until recently. As noted on Wikipedia, the poem remains under copyright at the moment, but it is fully available online such as the following site https://poets.org/poem/do-not-go-gentle-good-night
Alternatively, for an excellent reading of the poem watch this YouTube video by Michael Sheen.
Living in Wales for the past 21 years, I suppose I should be more familiar with Dylan Thomas – but other than a poem used during graduation ceremonies at Cardiff University, I cannot say that I have really come across much of his poetry or about him. This is something that I should probably address. Equally, it doesn’t seem that children learn much about Thomas at school and that is something the education system should be addressing – but this is a topic I will return to in another post.
But there is no doubt that Do Not Go Gentle Into That Good Night is a wonderful poem and I hope to take on more of its message in the way I live as I get even older, and perhaps it will also make an appearance at my own funeral one day. In the meantime here is a somewhat embarrassing (and out of focus – there are not many photographs of my childhood and without view finders, many photos of that time ended up out of focus) photo of me in 1987 wearing my Rage Hard T-shirt.
Cover image source: https://eil.com/shop/moreinfo.asp?catalogid=8017