Do not go gentle into that good night

I was thinking today about how I loathe the thought of having to downgrade to “gentle yoga” after several years of a Bikram and power yoga practice. I’m not exactly known for the likelihood of my “go[ing] gentle” into anything. I want to do what’s best for my body, but it’s not always easy to accept its limitations. So on that note, I present a (rather famous) villanelle* by Dylan Thomas.

Do not go gentle into that good night

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.

You can listen to Thomas read the poem over at the Academy of American Poets.

*The villanelle is, in my opinion, one of the hardest forms to do well in English because of its reliance on both repetition and rhyme. The form uses only two rhyme sounds (a & b) and has two refrain lines that use the first rhyme sound (a). See Elizabeth Bishop’s “One Art” for another beautiful example.

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