"Autobiographies of great nations are written in three manuscripts – a book of deeds, a book of words, and a book of art.
Of the three, I would choose the latter as truest testimony." - Sir Kenneth Smith, Great Civilisations

"I must write each day without fail, not so much for the success of the work, as in order not to get out of my routine." - Leo Tolstoy

I have never believed that one should wait until one is inspired because I think the pleasures of not writing are so
great that if you ever start indulging them you will never write again. - John Updike

"The life of every man is a diary in which he means to write one story, and writes another; and his humblest hour
is when he compares the volume as it is with what he vowed to make it." - J.M. Barrie, Peter Pan

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Visual Art in Arabic Calligraphy

Arabic Printing and the Alphabet

The Arabs gave to a large part of the world not only a religion - Islam - but also a language and an alphabet. Where the Muslim religion went, the Arabic language and Arabic writing also went. Arabic became and has remained the national language - the mother tongue - of North Africa and all the Arab countries of the Middle East.

Even where Arabic did not become the national language, it became the language of religion wherever Islam became established, since the Quran is written in Arabic, the Profession of Faith is to be spoken in Arabic, and five times daily the practicing Muslim must say prayers in Arabic. Today, therefore, one can hear Arabic spoken - at least for religious purposes - from Mauritania on the Atlantic, across Africa and most of Asia, and as far east as Indonesia and the Philippines. Even in China (which has a Muslim population of some forty million) and the Central Asian republics of the CIS (ex-USSR), Arabic can be heard in the shahadah, in prayer, and in the chanting of the Quran.

Of those people who embraced Islam but did not adopt Arabic as their everyday language, many millions have taken the Arabic alphabet for their own, so that today one sees the Arabic script used to write languages that have no basic etymological connection with Arabic. The languages of Iran, Afghanistan, and Pakistan are all written in the Arabic alphabet, as was the language of Turkey until some fifty years ago. It is also used in Kashmir and in some places in the Malay Peninsula and the East Indies, and in Africa it is used in Somalia and down the east coast as far south as Tanzania.

The basmalah ("In the name of God the Merciful the Compassionate"
is the opening words of the Quran). Done in an elaborate thuluth
script with the letters joined so that the entire phrase is written
without lifting the pen from the paper

It is generally accepted that the Arabic alphabet developed from the script used for Nabataean, a dialect of Aramaic used in northern Arabia and what is now Jordan during roughly the thousand years before the start of the Islamic era. It seems apparent that Syriac also had some influence on its development. The earliest inscription that has been found that is identifiably Arabic is one in Sinai that dates from about A.D. 300. Another Semitic script which was in use at about the same time and which is found on inscriptions in southern Arabia is the origin of the alphabet now used for Amharic, the official language of Ethiopia.

The Arabic alphabet has twenty-eight letters (additional letters have been added to serve the needs of non-Arabic languages that use the Arabic script, such as those of Iran and Pakistan), and each of the letters may have up to four different forms. All of the letters are strictly speaking consonants, and unlike the Roman alphabet used for English and most European languages Arabic writing goes from right to left.

Another basmalah in ornamental thuluth script
is written in the shape of an oval
Another significant difference is that the Arabic script has been used much more extensively for decoration and as a means of artistic expression. This is not to say that the Roman alphabet (and others such as the Chinese and Japanese, for instance) are not just as decorative and have not been used just as imaginatively. Since the invention of printing from type, however, calligraphy (which means, literally "beautiful writing") has come to be used in English and the other European languages only for special documents and on special occasions and has declined to the status of a relatively minor art.

In the countries that use the Arabic alphabet, on the other hand, calligraphy has continued to be used not only on important documents but for a variety of other artistic purposes as well. One reason is that the cursive nature of the Arabic script and certain of its other peculiarities made its adaptation to printing difficult and delayed the introduction of the printing press, so that the Arab world continued for some centuries after the time of Gutenberg to rely on handwriting for the production of books (especially the Quran) and of legal and other documents. The use of Arabic script has therefore tended to develop in the direction of calligraphy and the development of artistically pleasing forms of hand lettering, while in the West the trend has been toward printing and the development of ornamental and sometimes elaborate type faces.

Another and perhaps more important reason was a religious one. The Quran nowhere prohibits the representation of humans or animals in drawings, or paintings, but as Islam expanded in its early years it inherited some of the prejudices against visual art of this kind that had already taken root in the Middle East. In addition, the early Muslims tended to oppose figural art (and in some cases all art) as distracting the community from the worship of God and hostile to the strictly unitarian religion preached by Muhammad, and all four of the schools of Islamic law banned the use of images and, declared that the painter of animate figures would be damned on the Day of Judgment. Wherever artistic ornamentation and decoration were required, therefore, Muslim artists, forbidden to depict, human or animal forms, for the most part were forced to resort either to what has since come to be known as "arabesque" (designs based on strictly geometrical forms or patterns of leaves and flowers) or, very often, to calligraphy. Arabic calligraphy therefore came to be used not only in producing copies of the Quran (its first and for many centuries its most important use), but also for all kinds of other artistic purposes as well on porcelain and metalware, for carpets and other textiles, on coins, and as architectural ornament (primarily on mosques and tombs but also, especially in later years, on other buildings as well).

The basmalah is here written in ornamental "floriated"
kufic (above) and in naskhi (below)

At the start of the Islamic era two types of script seem to have been in use - both derived from different forms of the Nabataean, alphabet. One was square and angular and was called kufic (after the town of Kufa in Iraq, though it was in use well before the town was founded). It was used for the first, handwritten copies of the Quran, and for architectural decoration in the earliest years of the Islamic Empire. The other, called naskhi, was more rounded and cursive and was used for letters, business documents, and wherever speed rather than elaborate formalism was needed. By the twelfth century kufic was obsolete as a working script except for special uses and in northwest Africa, where it developed into the maghribi style of writing still used in the area today. Naskhi, the rounded script, remained in use and from it most of the many later styles of Arabic calligraphy have been developed.

The ruq'ah script is used for headlines and titles and is
the everyday written script of most of the Arab world

Calligraphy flourished during the Umayyad era in Damascus. During this period scribes began the modification of the original thick and heavy kufic script into the form employed today for decorative purposes, as well as developing a number of new scripts derived from the more cursive naskhi. It was under the 'Abbasids, however, that calligraphy first began to be systematized.

In the first half of the tenth century the 'Abbasid vizier Ibn Muqlah completed the development of kufic, established some of the rules of shape and proportion that have been followed by calligraphers since his time, and was first to develop what became the traditional classification of Arabic writing into the "six styles" of cursive script:

  • naskhi - from which most present day printing types are derived
  • thuluth - a more cursive outgrowth of naskhi
  • rayhani - a more ornate version of thuluth
  • muhaqqaq - a bold script with sweeping diagonal flourishes)
  • tawqi' - a somewhat compressed variety of thuluth in which all the letters are sometimes joined to each other
  • ruq'ah - the style commonly used today for ordinary handwriting in most of the Arab world

It was from these six, and from kufic, that later calligraphers, not only in the Arab world but in Iran, Turkey, and elsewhere as well, developed and elaborated other scripts.

The graceful Persian ta'liq script is used in a sentence which starts
"Beauty is a spell which casts its splendor upon the universe..."

In Iran, for example, there came into use a particularly graceful and delicate script called ta'liq, in which the horizontal strokes of the letters are elongated and which is often written at an angle across the page. From ta'liq, in turn, another script called nasta'liq was derived which combines the Arabic naskhi and the Persian tailiq into a beautifully light and legible script.

The diwani script (top) and the so called "royal" diwani (below)
 were developed by Ottoman calligraphers for use on state docu

It was in Ottoman Turkey, however, that calligraphy attained the highest development once the early creative flowering had faded elsewhere in the Middle East. So renowned were Ottoman calligraphers, in fact, that a popular saying was that "The Quran was revealed in Mecca, recited in Egypt, and written in Istanbul." The Ottomans were not content merely to improve and develop the types of script that they inherited from the Arabs and Persians but also added a number of new styles to the calligrapher's repertoire.

One important addition by the Ottoman calligraphers was the script called diwani, so called from the word diwan (meaning state council or government office) since it was at first used primarily for documents issued by the Ottoman Council of State. It is an extremely graceful and very decorative script, with strong diagonal flourishes, though less easy to read than some other styles. After its development in Turkey, it spread to the Arab countries and is in use today for formal documents and also as architectural decoration.

This tughra (monogram or insignia)  of the
Ottoman Sultan Abdu Hamid shows the three
elongated vertical strokes which are
characteristic of this style

Examples of more or less standard types of script such as these do not by any means exhaust the number of styles. Islamic calligraphers have experimented endlessly and have been extremely imaginative. Another distinctive Turkish contribution is the tughra, an elaborate and highly stylized rendering of the names of the Ottoman sultan, originally used to authenticate imperial decrees. The tughra later came to be used both in Turkey and by rulers of t the Arab countries as a kind of royal insignia or emblem, on coins and stamps and wherever a coat of arms or royal monogram would be used by European governments.

In the muthanna or "doubled" style of calligraphy
shown on the left each half of the design is a mirror image
of the other. The basmalah in the thuluth script on the
right has been written in the shape of an ostrich

Another unusual variation of calligraphy, not often used nowadays, is the style called muthanna (Arabic for "doubled"). This is not really a type of script in itself but consists of a text in one of the standard scripts such as naskhi worked into a pattern in which one half is a mirror image of the other. Even more imaginative is what may be called pictorial calligraphy, in which the text (usually the profession of faith, a verse from the Quran, or some other e phrase with religious significance) is written in the shape of a bird, animal, tree, boat, or other object. A Quranic verse in the kufic script, for example, may be written so that it forms the picture of a mosque and minarets.

The angular kufic script is here used to put a
well known religious expression into the form
of a mosque with four minarets

The art of calligraphy is still very much alive in the Arab world and wherever the Arabic alphabet is used. The list of everyday uses is almost endless: coins and paper money bear the work of expert calligraphers, wall posters and advertising signs in every town show the calligrapher's art, as do the cover and title page of every book, and the major headlines in every newspaper and magazine have been written by hand. Calligraphy - the art of "beautiful writing" -continues to be something that is not only highly prized as ornament and decoration but is immensely practical and useful as well.

Photo: Preeminent among artists of the Muslim world is the calligrapher,
as it is his privilege to adorn the word of God.
Here, ornamental kufic is used on a Quranic page that typifies
the marriage of calligraphy and illumination,
an art that reached its zenith in the fourteenth century

Photo: Cursive script on a section of gold-embroidered kiswah,
the black cloth covering of the Ka'bah,
which is renewed each year at the time of the pilgrimage

Photo: Miniature from the Shah-Nameh (Book of Kings)
illustrating the epic of Persian poet Firdausi

Photo: The cursive script shown in detail
from a fourteenth-century Persian tile

Photo: A fourteenth-century manuscript of a pharmaceutical text

Photo: Cursive script on Quran stand of wood, dated 1360,
a fine example of Mongol art from western Turkestan

Friday, November 4, 2011

R.E. Slater - Passage (a poem)

by R.E. Slater

An hour changed and I with it –
And everything changed and none with it.

I sat alone and contemplated alone,
In the silences of my thoughts and heart,
And felt the heat of suns and noons,
As I watched the days grow long their depths.

Farewell my friend, Farewell I said –
Farewell tomorrow to yesterday’s hours.

For I was sad and yet content,
Filled some with want my discontent,
And filled with nothing but my amusement,
As I watched the days grow long their depths.

For an hour changed and I with it –
And nothing changed and all with it.

- R.E. Slater
October 30, 2011

@copyright R.E. Slater Publications

all rights reserved

Dylan Thomas - Fern Hill & Comments

Now as I was young and easy under the apple boughs
About the lilting house and happy as the grass was green,
The night above the dingle starry,
Time let me hail and climb
Golden in the heydays of his eyes,
And honoured among
wagons I was prince of the apple towns
And once below a time I lordly had the trees and leaves
Trail with daisies and barley
Down the rivers of the windfall light.

And as I was green and carefree, famous among the barns
About the happy yard and singing as the farm was home,
In the sun that is young once only,
Time let me play and be
Golden in the mercy of his means,
And green and golden I was huntsman and herdsman, the calves
Sang to my horn, the foxes on the hills barked clear and
And the sabbath rang slowly
In the pebbles of the holy streams.

All the sun long it was running, it was lovely, the hay
Fields high as the house, the tunes from the chimneys, it was
And playing, lovely and watery
And fire green as grass.
And nightly under the simple stars
As I rode to sleep the owls were bearing the farm away,
All the moon long I heard, blessed among stables, the
Flying with the ricks, and the horses
Flashing into the dark.

And then to awake, and the farm, like a wanderer white
With the dew, come back, the cock on his shoulder: it was all
Shining, it was Adam and maiden,
The sky gathered again
And the sun grew round that very day.
So it must have been after the birth of the simple light
In the first, spinning place, the spellbound horses walking
Out of the whinnying green stable
On to the fields of praise.

And honoured among foxes and pheasants by the gay house
Under the new made clouds and happy as the
heart was long,
In the sun born over and over,
I ran my heedless ways,
My wishes raced through the house high hay
And nothing I cared, at my sky blue trades, that time allows
In all his tuneful turning so few and such morning songs
Before the children green and golden
Follow him out of grace.

Nothing I cared, in the lamb white days, that time would
take me
Up to the swallow thronged loft by the shadow of my hand,
In the moon that is always rising,
Nor that riding to sleep
I should hear him fly with the high fields
And wake to the farm forever fled from the childless land.
Oh as I was young and easy in the mercy of his means,
Time held me green and dying
Though I sang in my chains like the sea.

- Dylan Thomas

Fern Hill Recitation by Anthony Hopkins
by Athena Learning


Fern Hill Recitation by Richard Burton


Fern Hill

Fern Hill (1945) is a poem by Dylan Thomas, first published in the October, 1945, Horizon magazine, with its first book publication as the last poem in Deaths and Entrances. The poem starts as a straightforward evocation of his childhood visits to his Aunt Annie's farm:
Now as I was young and easy under the apple boughs
About the lilting house and happy as the grass was green,
In the middle section, the idyllic scene is expanded upon, reinforced by the lilting rhythm of the poem, the dreamlike, pastoral metaphors and allusion to scenes from the Garden of Eden. By the end, the poet's older voice has taken over, mourning his lost youth with echoes of the opening:
Oh as I was young and easy in the mercy of his means,
Time held me green and dying
Though I sang in my chains like the sea.[1]
The poem uses internal half rhyme and full rhyme as well as end rhyme. Thomas was very conscious of the impact of spoken or intoned verse and explored the potentialities of sound and rhythm, in a manner reminiscent of Gerard Manley Hopkins. He always denied having conscious knowledge of Welsh, but "his lines chime with internal consonantal correspondence, or cynghanedd, a prescribed feature of Welsh versification".[2]

The house Fernhill is just outside Llangain in Carmarthenshire. Thomas had extended stays here in the 1920s with his aunt Annie and her husband, Jim Jones. His holidays here have been recalled in interviews with his schoolboy friends, and both the house and the Thomas family network in the area are detailed in the same book.[3]


Review by the Wondering Minstrels

Perhaps the most startling thing about Dylan Thomas' verse is his brilliantly orginal use of metaphors. In this he shares much with the Metaphysical poets of the 17th century, who too delighted in finding resemblances between dissimilar objects, and in using those resemblances to illuminate and enrich their poetry. But whereas Donne and his ilk constructed elaborate and detailed analogies (for instance, comparing two lovers to the fixed arms of a compass), Thomas' particular mastery lies in the use of the 'compressed metaphor' - in wonderfully evocative phrases like 'windfall light', 'holy streams','fire green as grass', 'fields of praise' and 'lamb white days' (all of which are from today's poem), he juxtaposes disparate words into combinations which seem utterly _right_. Indeed, these phrases, with their wealth of connotation and descriptive detail, seem so natural that you don't even notice them on a first reading... it's only later that they strike you, and make you think.

As a brief aside, do note the language of the poem; specifically, note the repetition of the words 'green', 'golden' and 'white'. It's no accident that these are the colours of Spring; although Thomas uses the adjectives in unfamiliar contexts ('fire green as grass'), the overall atmospeheric effect is brilliant.

Technical details [1] apart, what I love about 'Fern Hill' is the sheer joy that rings through every word. Thomas glories in life, in the wonder and beauty and mystery of each living day; in his own words (in the introduction to the Collected Poems (1952)) he wrote 'for the love of Man and in praise of God'. This, despite his knowledge of the inevitability of death. It's the same philosophy which informs much of his work [2], but it's kept from sounding trite by the quality of his verse - phrases such as 'holy streams' and 'fields of praise' resonate with an almost religious awe in the face of the glory and majesty of life. Utterly beautiful.


[1] I would mention the rhyme scheme (yes, there is one; see if you can spot it) and the metre (syllabics) in greater detail, but I thought I'd leave that for another day (and another poem). Be patiently. [2] Including the justly-celebrated villanelle 'Do not go gentle into that good night', Minstrels Poem #38 - exactly a hundred poems ago :-). 

George Macbeth has this to say about Thomas (and his comments are particularly apt in light of today's poem):

"Whether or not he 'died of drink', whether or not he was unusually debauched, whether he was a great saint or a great sinner, are not questions of much importance for the assessment of his verse. With the exception of the radio play 'Under Milk Wood', almost all of Thomas' creative energy went into his poetry. He wrote very slowly, often at the rate of only one line a day after hours of hard, sober work... 

... Apart from his painstaking craftsmanship, so at odds with the popular legend of his life, Dylan Thomas' poetry is perhaps specially interesting for its optimism. No other poet writing in English since Yeats has responded to life with such a consistently affirmative and positive note. This may in part account for his continuing appeal to readers who don't normally pay much attention to poetry."


The name Dylan comes from the Mabinogion, a collection of 11 mediaeval Welsh tales. The word means "sea". In the tale Math, the son of Mathonwy, challenges Aranrhod, his niece who claims to be a virgin, to step over his magic wand.

"Aranrhod stepped over the wand, and with that step she dropped a sturdy boy with thick yellow hair; the boy gave a loud cry, and with that cry she made her way for the door....."Well said Math, 'I will arrange for the baptism of this one......and I will call him Dylan." The boy was baptised, whereupon he immediately made for the sea, and when he came to the sea he took on its nature and swam as well as the best fish. He was called Dylan (:sea) son of Ton (:wave), for no wave ever broke beneath him"

Dylan Thomas - Biography, Surrealism, and BBC Parts 1-7

Dylan Thomas

Dylan Marlais Thomas (27 October 1914 – 9 November 1953) was a Welsh poet and writer[1][2] who wrote exclusively in English. In addition to poetry, he wrote short stories and scripts for film and radio, which he often performed himself. His public readings, particularly in America, won him great acclaim; his sonorous voice with a subtle Welsh lilt became almost as famous as his works. His best-known works include the "play for voices" Under Milk Wood and the celebrated villanelle for his dying father, "Do not go gentle into that good night". Appreciative critics have also noted the craftsmanship and compression of poems such as "In my Craft or Sullen Art"[3] and the rhapsodic lyricism of "Fern Hill' ".

Dylan Thomas - Film Biography
The Edge of Love [Trailer]


Arena - Dylan Thomas From Grave to Cradle (BBC 2003) - Part 1

Arena - Dylan Thomas From Grave to Cradle (BBC 2003) - Part 2

Arena - Dylan Thomas From Grave to Cradle (BBC 2003) - Part 3

Arena - Dylan Thomas From Grave to Cradle (BBC 2003) - Part 4

Arena - Dylan Thomas From Grave to Cradle (BBC 2003) - Part 5

Arena - Dylan Thomas From Grave to Cradle (BBC 2003) - Part 6

Arena - Dylan Thomas From Grave to Cradle (BBC 2003) - Part 7


Dylan Thomas Companion
And Death Shall Have No Dominion
by Golden Essays

[When[ Auden and Christopher Isherwood set sail for the United States, the so-called 'All the fun' age ended. Auden's generation of poets' expectations came to nothing after the end of the Spanish Civil War, and they, disillusioned, left the European continent for good.

In the late 1930s the school of Surrealism reached England, and Dylan Thomas was one of the few British authors of the time who were followers of this new trend in the arts. He shared the Surrealist interest in the great abstracts of Love and Death, and composed most of his work according to the rules of Surrealism.

His first two volumes, Eighteen Poems and Twenty-five Poems were published in the middle of the decade and of this short surrealistic era as well. Dylan Thomas was declared the Shelley of the 20th century as his poems were the perfect examples of 'new-romanticism' with their 'violent natural imagery, sexual and Christian symbolism and emotional subject matter expressed in a singing rhythmical verse' (Under Siege - Robert Hewison, 1977.).

The aim of 'new-romanticism' was setting poets free from W.H. Auden's demand for 'the strict and adult pen'. In 1933 Dylan Thomas sent two of his poems to London, one of which was an earlier version of his famous poem, And Death Shall Have No Dominion. It was dated April 1933 in Thomas's notebook and was published for the first time in the 18 May 1933 issue of the New English Weekly.

After its first publication, the poem was altered several times and got its final form in Twenty-five Poems, even though Thomas was not particularly proud of this work of his, and was not sure about publishing it for a second time. Immediately in its title, the poem has a reference to the New Testament, which was one of Dylan Thomas's main sources of metaphor. The title (and the refrain of the poem as well):

'And Death Shall Have No Dominion' has been taken from the King James Version of the Scriptures, which, with its flowing language and prose rhythm, has had profound influence on the literature of the past 300 years. 'Knowing that Christ being raised from the dead dieth no more; death hath no more dominion over him. For in that he died, he died unto sin once: but in that he liveth, he liveth unto God. Likewise reckon ye also yourselves dead to be dead indeed unto sin, but alive unto God through Jesus Christ our Lord.' Romans 6:9-11

There is another line in the poem,

'Though they sink through the sea they shall rise again;' which resembles a line from the Scripture: 'And the sea gave up the dead which were in it, and death and hell delivered up the dead which were in them: and they were judged every man according to their works.' Revelation 20:13

The assertive optimism of the poem can also be brought into connection with the traditions of evangelical hymns, which is best reflected in the lines;

'Though they go mad they shall be sane, Though they sink through the sea they shall rise again; Though lovers be lost love shall not, And death shall have no dominion.'

It seems, that it is this assertive optimism Dylan Thomas is trying to impose on the reader, and, perhaps on himself as well in this poem, maybe in order to keep his sanity. Being one of the least obscure of Dylan Thomas's poetry, it was evident, that of his earlier woks, beside Do Not Go Gentle Into That Good Night and The Force That through the Green Fuse Drives the Flower, And Death Shall Have No Dominion would catch public imagination quite easily. The thing in this poem that drew the attention of the everyman was the constancy of hope coming from the notion that everything is cyclical: though the individuals perish, 'they shall rise again', and, though particular loves are lost, love itself continues.

The tone of this poem is quite sermon-like, and its atmosphere is rather Christian; yet, the central theme in it is not religion, nor the religious beliefs concerning death but the relationship between man and nature. Thomas claims in the second stanza that deliverance from death is not through religious faith as

'Faith in their hands shall snap in two, And the unicorn evils run them through;' but he declares man's unity with nature at death: 'Dead men naked they shall be one With the man in the wind and the west moon.'

The frame of the poem is the title, the first line, the refrain from the Bible, repetitive and insistent at the beginning and the end of each stanza. Between these lines the poem is full of vivid imagery, of which probably the most significant can be found in the above-mentioned line ('With the man in the wind and the west moon;'). Here Dylan Thomas uses one of his most characteristic devices: the transferred epithet, to create a new image form 'the man in the moon and the west wind'.

Beside his sophisticated use of poetic devices, Thomas's poems are full of lively images, such as

'When their bones are picked clear and clean bones gone, They shall have stars at elbow and foot;', or 'Twisting on racks when sinews give way, Strapped to a wheel, yet they shall not break;'

which sometimes seem to be a completely meaningless confusion of images. This is one characteristic of Surrealist poetry. In the case of And Death Shall Have No Dominion this 'confusion' is counterbalanced with the repetition, therefore the meaning, the feeling of the poem is homogeneous, even despite the rather nothing-to-do-with-each-other images.

The significance of this poem lies in its being simple and subtle at the same time.


1. A Dylan Thomas Companion - John Ackerman, 1991 2. All references to the Bible from the Bible Gateway (www.gospelcom.net) 3. Dylan Thomas - Paul Ferris, 1977 4. The Ironic Harvest - Geoffrey Thurley, 1974 5. The King James Version (KJV) of the Bible, 1611 6. The Norton Anthology of English Literature 7. The Oxford Illustrated History English Literature - ed. Pat Rogers, 1987 8. The Penguin History of Literature, The Twentieth Century - ed. Martin Dodsworth, 1994 9. Under Siege (Literary Life in London 1939-1945) - Robert Hewison, 1977

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 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.

- Dylan Thomas



Dylan Thomas, “Do Not Go Gentle into That Good Night” from The Poems of Dylan Thomas. Copyright 1939, 1946 by New Directions Publishing Corporation. Reprinted with the permission of New Directions Publishing Corporation.

Source: The Collected Poems of Dylan Thomas (New Directions Publishing Corporation, 1957)