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Dylan Thomas: The wise and Wanton Poet

Dylan Thomas: The wise and Wanton Poet

by: Shirley Satterfield

.Dylan Thomas: The Wise and Wanton Poet

Dylan Thomas, Wales’ most distinguished poet, was a consummate poet of the modernist movement in literature and poet who influenced such contemporary music luminaries as Bob Dylan and The Beatles, Bob Dylan even changed his last name from Zimmerman to Dylan and The Beatles included his image on an album cover.
However, Dylan himself was quite the luminary in the modernist movement, a movement in poetry characterized by freedom of form and poetic license. And unlike traditional forms of verse in which the poets adhere to various forms, as dictated by literary rules, modernist poetry does not have to have set of predetermined meter and rhyme but can be written in free verse, rhyme or blank verse or a combination of all the forms and does not necessarily have to make logical sense to the reader. Thus the reader can feel it and experience it and bring to the poem his own experiences and his own personal of the poem. So in modernist poetry, both freedom of expression and interpretation is the name of the game.
Dylan’s most famous poem is “Do Not Go Gentle into that Good Night” was written at a time when Dylan’s beloved father was on his deathbed as a heartfelt response to his grief and his anger that death cuts us off leaving many good things that life has to offer unrealized and inexperienced. And the poem was a call to all sorts of men to live life to the fullest and to proactively resist the limitations of aging the finality of death. In short, Dylan saw death as the great enemy of man. And this masterpiece of a poem is one of my own personal favorites.

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 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 fierce tears, I pray.
Do not go gentle into that good night.
Rage, rage against the dying of the light.

Dylan Thomas was born in 1914 in the Welsh town of Swansea where he secured his first job as a journalist after dropping out of school at the age of sixteen (he had not been a good student). However, his first poem had been published by a newspaper at the age of 14, so he began to make a name for himself as a poet. But finding that he could not make a living wage as a writer and a poet, he, later on, moved to New York where he went on the poetry reading circuit where he was paid for his speaking engagements. But unfortunately, Dylan was a far gone alcoholic who described himself as a “drunken and doomed poet” and as much as he despised a death experienced prematurely, he himself experienced a premature death at the age of 39 when he lapsed into a coma during a drinking binge.

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