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do not wither away slowly

 

words: shahriar joudat

The Welsh poet Dylan Thomas is a literary icon of the 20th Century and must time and again be read, lest the power of his words fade into the dying of the light. His experiences and depressed vision of the world created an introverted man that became increasingly self-destructive, even if more brilliantly existential. Although his prolific life was tragically cut short amid his prime, famed British writer Philip Toynbee still labeled him the greatest living English poet of his time. A statement that is difficult for me to deny. The poem that follows here is a eulogy for his father’s death, an event which shattered Thomas’ own soul while it was at its creative peak. This imbued the poem with a particular poignancy that has made it a timeless masterpiece of English literature, and arguably beyond. My reflection on this poem, which follows below, is a dedication to all those who resist against the dying of the light.

 

 

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.

 

 

Merely existing is not truly living. Merely existing is a trap, a static swamp that is a struggle. Yet living is ever fleeting, ever morphing into a transient soul that is unfurling its wings – living is a sacred flight amid a land of virtues. Existence is the everyday banal, yet living provides a respite from the quotidian sludge. Existence is the default response to the need for survival, it’s the response of a species called mankind that reduces the mind to a mere one dimension. Yet life is the dawn of love and aspiration, the weaving of dreams and partaking in them, elevating the mind to boundless heights. 

Existence imprisons you to the boundaries of society, history, and nature. Living shatters those prisons and liberates your soul. Existence confines you to blindly accept your fate; yet life imbues you with the burning passion to reign over your destiny, a permission to extend beyond your limits and discover the most obscure secrets of the universe. Existence understands your place as the center around which all else rotates, yet life places you within the broader harmony of a universe rotating around love and truth. Existence is a religion of opportunism, yet life foregoes the false idols of expedience in search of greater truths. Existence never questions its own meaning, yet life inspires you to confront your purpose every day.  

Existence is paralysis, yet life is ever evolving...

Existence is withering and dying slowly, yet life is thriving...

One must choose to live lest existence engulfs us...

 
Samine Joudat