Dec 26

Poetic Interlude

The poems below both speak to me when I think about Donald’s death. I want to scream the first poem and deny the second. In the first the poet is talking of his Father and in the second the poet speaks of Marc Anthony and his noble defeat. It strikes me that the first poet lived to be less than forty years old and the second lived exactly the seventy years that Donald did.

I think Don lived to emulate both of these poems in our short lives. He refused to go gently into that good night by beginning life again at the age of seventy and taking dancing lessons with his younger bride to be. He refused to be labeled as an old man simply because he had gray hair. He made friends with people aged twenty to ninety just so he could discover more about them and about the world. He learned new skills every day until his last. He fought for his life.

I don’t care for the title of the second poem but I like the poem. In it Marc Anthony is facing his last battle and God advises him to accept it nobly. Don sought God’s guidance in all that we did and he faced all of his life with a nobility that earned him the respect of co-workers, acquaintances, and many friends.

Maybe in time I will find the eloquence to be poetic myself but for tonight I leave the poetry to the classics.

Do Not Go Gentle Into That Good Night

Do not go gentle into that good night,
Old age should burn and rage 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 (1914-1953)

God Abandons Antony

When suddenly, at midnight, you hear
an invisible procession going by
with exquisite music, voices,
don’t mourn your luck that’s failing now,
work gone wrong, your plans
all proving deceptive—don’t mourn them uselessly.
As one long prepared, and graced with courage,
say goodbye to her, the Alexandria that is leaving.
Above all, don’t fool yourself, don’t say
it was a dream, your ears deceived you:
don’t degrade yourself with empty hopes like these.
As one long prepared, and graced with courage,
as is right for you who proved worthy of this kind of city,
go firmly to the window
and listen with deep emotion, but not
with the whining, the pleas of a coward;
listen—your final delectation—to the voices,
to the exquisite music of that strange procession,
and say goodbye to her, to the Alexandria you are losing.

Constantine P. Cavafy (1863-1933)

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2 comments

    • miran541 on December 26, 2014 at 10:38 pm
    • Reply

    You have chosen well, Christine. Thank you for sharing your thoughts so openly, and for being so honest about your feelings. I especially love the Dylan Thomas poem.
    May God richly bless you…

    • Frank M. D'Ambrosio on December 26, 2014 at 11:50 pm
    • Reply

    Both poems are deep and require careful consideration. For right now, I do thank Christine for posting them for us to share and ponder.

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