"Do not go gentle into that good night" is a poem in the form of a villanelle, and the most famous work of Welsh poet Dylan Thomas (1914–1953). Though first published in the journal Botteghe Oscure in 1951, it was actually written in 1947 when he was in Florence with his family. The poem was published, along with other stories previously written, as part of his In Country Sleep, And Other Poems in 1952.
It has been suggested that the poem was written for Thomas' dying father, although he did not die until just before Christmas 1952.[dead link] It has no title other than its first line, "Do not go gentle into that good night", a line which appears as a refrain throughout. The poem's other refrain is "Rage, rage against the dying of the light".
The poem was used as the text for the 1954 In Memoriam Dylan Thomas (Dirge-Canons and Song) for tenor and chamber ensemble, by Igor Stravinsky. The piece was written soon after Thomas' death and first performed in 1954.
The poem was the inspiration for three paintings by Swansea-born painter and print-maker Ceri Richards, in 1954, 1956 and 1965 respectively.
The poem is recited by the character Thornton Melon, played by Rodney Dangerfield, in the 1986 film Back to School where his English professor has him recite the poem to inspire him to complete an exam.
The poem is referred to in the Matched novel trilogy by Ally Condie. The poem is given to Cassia by her grandfather, although she later destroys it. It is also referred to in the other books of the trilogy, Crossed and Reached.
The line "don't go gentle into the goodnight, rage on against the dying light" from the poem is used at the end of the song "Somebody to Die For" written and performed by British duo Hurts from their second studio album Exile.
^ abDylan Thomas, poets.org, He took his family to Italy, and while in Florence, he wrote In Country Sleep, And Other Poems (Dent, 1952), which includes his most famous poem, “Do not go gentle into that good night.”