Monday, February 9, 2015

Poem a week 2: I would go gentle into that goodnight

Perhaps Dylan Thomas's most famous poem is "Do not go gentle into that goodnight.....Rage, rage against the dying of the light". As I've grown older I have come to disagree with it more and more.  It seems to me to be the cry of a young man afraid of being old.  Surely the old should be allowed to die in their own way not in a way chosen to please their children?

My brother-in-law Stan died at the very beginning of the new year and this crystallized my thoughts and I produced the poem below.  I've dedicated it to Stan a man who died with considerable grace suppoted by his wife and three daughters.  The picture is of Stan.

How I would leave

Dedicated to Stan Huxtable died January 1 2015
I would go gentle into that goodnight.
Old men should please themselves
Not vainly fight
The battles of their children.

We're not immortal,
Why should we pretend?
Hang onto life
Hang on to the last gasp with finger's end?

No when death comes
Then may I look him in the face,
Die as I wish that I had always lived,
And leave with grace.
    Nick Mellersh 2015

Here is a link to the Dylan Thomas poem Do not go Gentle  

And here is a link to another poem that I think has got it all wrong about old age.  "When I am old I will dress in purple."  I used to think "for God's sake woman if you want to wear purple better do it now. You may be dead anyway and even if not your colour preferences may be different".  But actually, on reading it, I find it is a sweet poem.  The author is Jenny Joseph.  I found it with poem another that amused me about how an old woman would get revenge on her children by running in and out without closing the door.  We must have all felt like that.  Anyway here's the link.  Enjoy the fun

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