This morning I woke early, as I nearly always do, but with a melancholic mood fogging my mind. Two Hallmark movies and a cup of hot tea later and I still could not shake the malaise. I turned off the television and grabbed the closest half-finished book handy and continued my perusal of Cosmic Discoveries with David Levy. The subtitle for chapter nineteen was a quote I’ve heard many times but which I had never read the original source. Since the chapter also started with another quote from the same work with a byline to the poet, I decide there’s no time like the present to read the original poem.
My tablet was charging across the room so I grabbed my smartphone and searched on the phrase and poet and got a crazy amount of hits – no surprise. I read the Wikipedia article first to get some background on the poet and the when and partial why he wrote his now famous and often quoted poem. Next, I returned to my results (from Wikipedia) and selected the first hit that contained the complete short poem.
I read it three times, because I read somewhere or was told by someone you should always read a poem three times. I didn’t make it through the third stanza of the first reading before I couldn’t see my screen for the tears. Damn poets! And at one point in my life I actually aspired to be a poet. But life pretty much crushed the creativity out of me so I just enjoy those who had more courage than I to pursue their creative spark.
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.
— Dylan Thomas, ‘Do Not Go Gentle Into That Good Night‘
Reading this poem today reminded me of the sometimes quiet, always courageous sacrifices willingly given to us by our military service men and women. Their continuing fight against the dying of the light allows me, my family, my friends, my acquaintances, my coworkers – all of us living in this great country that is the home of the brave and the land of the free – because of them.
Thank you, veterans, for your service.
Thank you for not going gently into any night and raging against the dying of the light to keep us safe and free.