Do Not Go Gentle

My father lies in the “quiet room” of the nursing home, where they bring residents who are expected to die shortly.  He is anything but quiet, crying out in voices I have never heard before, making macabre gruntings that recall hiccups but are not, waving his crippled arms–well, his right one anyway, since his left got paralyzed in the recent fall that accelerated his previously glacier-like move toward death–I am reminded constantly, mantra-like, of Dylan Thomas’ painful ode to his father’s dying.

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.

–Dylan Thomas

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13 Comments

  1. I send my love and support.
    Xoxo

    Reply
  2. Know I’m thinking of you and your father. I wish peace to both of you.

    Reply
  3. The Grundlands

     /  October 1, 2014

    dearest liebe my sweetest friend,

    i can think of no greater honor of a daughter to her father than these months, years, you’ve spent with your father. and these last days, may he leave this world in the right time, must be so very bittersweet. oh my how i wish i could hug you now and that i had something more to say beyond the big lump in my throat and tears in my eyes. i love you and am wishing you and your holy father peace…thinking of you so much…please send me his hebrew name so i can ask hashem to usher him gently to shomayim b’sh’ah tova…love you. xo

    Reply
  4. I feel uncomfortable to ‘like’ such a post. What I do want to say, however, from far away across the pond is that you have given me an insight into the slow, excruciating decline in old age. But not only that; you have introduced me to your father, the man. The biblical description of Moishe rabbeinu comes to my mind: ‘Moshe, ha ish, Moshe.’ Amidst all his crumbling faculties I hear his rage.

    Reply
  5. Sending thoughts of comfort and support during this difficult time. Hugs.

    Reply
  6. Dear Laura,

    Listening to Dylan’s song, tipping my hat and sending you love and hugs from the other side of the globe.

    Reply
  7. sounds to me like he is still raging against the dark nite, and that he is lucky to have you there and not be alone. i send you and your father best wishes for this time, and lots of love and virtual hugs.

    Reply
  8. I send you my love and hold you and your father in my thoughts and prayers.

    Reply
  9. savemefrombpd

     /  October 1, 2014

    Sending you much love and support. X

    Reply
  10. Wishing you some peace, and your dad, too. Sending many hugs, and much love your way Laura. Hoping your ok, and safe. XXX

    Reply
  11. Your writing is so powerful, I’m near tears…

    Reply
  12. daniel rocque

     /  October 8, 2014

    So sad.

    Reply

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