Rage, rage, against the dying of the light
This morning I remembered Dylan Thomas's poem, written for his dying father, "Do not go gentle into that good night."
You might like listening to Dylan Thomas reading the last quatrain of the poem on YouTube.
Or you might read the ending below
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.
Or go for broke and read the entire poem, here. But I digress.
I first read the poem years ago. I saw, in the then-future, my own father going. I expected he'd go gentle, because he was a gentle man. And indeed he did. But, as I recall, I said to myself: "Self, not me. I'm going out raging. Raging. Raging. Raging at the dying of the light. Yeah! Booyah!"
Now I'm older, and things are different. For one thing, I don't say "Booyah!" Gave that up when I was sixty. And I recognize that I'm not a rager, and really never was. A fighter, but not a rager. And, as this blog, among other things, gives witness, I'm fighting, fighting, fighting. Though I know it's a losing fight.
That's how I hope to go out. Fighting. But maybe not. Sometimes I see a different ending, where I stop fighting, and decide to go. Gentle-like. I can imagine now what I could not imagine before: a time when I say to death, "Okay, Death. I'm tired. I give up. Take me."
Because of tiredness. A bone-wearying soul-destroying tiredness. Happens to me a few times a year, maybe when its allergy season, or maybe when I get some kind of low-grade infection. More often now than when I was younger, I get tired. Tired. Tired. So tired.
When you're torturing people (something that I neither confirm nor deny doing) and you don't want to leave any evidence of your torture and your water boarding gear is in the shop getting repaired, then the recommended torture technique is sleep-deprivation. After enough sleep-deprivation, strong people crack. They break down. They give up secrets. They betray their friends. And sometimes they think about going gentle into that good night, instead of raging, raging, at the dying of the light.
It's happened to me. Sometimes. I get so tired that for a moment I think that even death is preferable. So I give up, and I take a nap. And then I'm OK.
Still, I hate being so vulnerable. And I hate thinking about what might happen if I can't sleep because of pain or something. Or when sleep doesn't refresh me like it does now. I know I'm no hero, but I think I can deal with substantial pain. But not tiredness.
When that good night beckons I ain't going gentle into it.
Instead, like right now, I think I'll take a nap.