One of my favourite poems is “Do not go gentle into that dark night” by Dylan Thomas. (see below)
He was addressing his father on the latter’s death bed. Dylan’s father had been a coal miner and a Union activist. He was being urged to die peacefully.
But Dylan wanted his father to die as he had lived - raging against the dying of the light.
After all, there was not much light in the coal mines, when Thomas Sr. had raged against the injustice of the mine owners.
I am writing my own death poem. It is entitled “Feed me Mussels”.
“Rage not against the dying of the light
But welcome it.
Welcome it with bliss, for such is this:
We all must meet this fateful tryst,
At ends of lives both brief and long
With peace, with joy, and with a song.
The song I sing is not of faith,
nor heaven, nor hell beyond the grave.
For hell’s not there, and heaven’s a myth.
We are but atoms finely made,
Destined for dust – not a parade
of angels, demons, heaven or hell.
So when I’m dying grant my wish,
for mussels plump – served in a dish
with butter, garlic: sweet shell fish.
Fill every orifice with these,
the ocean’s gift for me to please.
Thus shall I die without regret,
Sated with mussels, (better yet
than prayer or bread or wine).
Plumped up with mussels, I’ll be fine
for burial in the foaming brine
Dylan Thomas’s poem
DO NOT GO GENTLE INTO THAT GOOD NIGHT
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.