"The Piazetta in Venice by Night" by Henry Pether‘Let Me Go Gentle into That Dark Night’ by Rohini Sunderam The Society October 21, 2019 Beauty, Poetry 22 Comments after Dylan Thomas Let me go gentle into that dark night Let me not rage against the dying light There is another light that beckons me That from this garish light will set me free It softly glows and grows on that far side I hear a hymn that sings with me abide Let me go gentle into that dark night I will not rage against the close of day Let me be like a glowing sunset, pray Sending colours of every rainbow hue From brightest red up to the deepest blue Let me learn from the deathbed of the sun To leave the light and from its brightness run Let me go gentle at the close of day. Now, loved ones, let me wish you fond farewell The time is right; I hear the tolling bell It’s not a knell it has a happy ring Like Christmas bells and voices carolling My heart towards that call is rushing now I’ve lived my life; please let me take that bow And let me gently wish you all farewell. Rohini Sunderam is a Canadian of Indian origin. She is a semi-retired advertising copywriter whose articles and stories have appeared in The Statesman, Calcutta, India, The Globe & Mail, Canada, and The Halifax Chronicle Herald, Nova Scotia, Canada in addition to several Bahrain-based publications. As Zohra Saeed, she is the author of Desert Flower (Publisher: Ex-L-Ence Publishing UK). She was a contributor to the anthology My Beautiful Bahrain (Publisher: Miracle Publishing, Bahrain), More of My Beautiful Bahrain & Poetic Bahrain, (Robin Barratt Publishing UK), Corpoetry – a collection of poems satirising corporate life (Publisher: Ex-L-Ence Publishing). 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CODEC News:Share this:Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)Click to print (Opens in new window)Click to share on LinkedIn (Opens in new window)Click to share on WhatsApp (Opens in new window)Click to email this to a friend (Opens in new window)Click to share on Pinterest (Opens in new window) 22 Responses Monty October 21, 2019 That’s a good concept for a poem, Rohini: I s’pose there’s just as equal a case for going gently as there is for not going gently. It depends on the individual, one might think; and the circumstances at the time. If I was to ask why you decided to put a full-stop at the end of line 14, you might reply: “I felt that a full-stop is warranted in that place”. To which I’d reply: “Yeah, it IS warranted in that place, but if you decided to put one there, why didn’t you put one in all the other places (at least 10) in which they’re clearly warranted?”. Apart from said full-stop, and one comma . . there’s no punctuation in the first 14 lines! Hence, your effectively asking others to read the first 14 lines as one sentence. It can’t be like that; unless the first 14 lines were written as one sentence.. which they’re obviously not. There are at least 6 sentences in those 14 lines. It’s a similar thing in the last stanza – from the first semi-colon to the second, it reads prosodically as: “I hear the tolling bell it’s not a knell it has a happy ring like Christmas bells and voices carolling my heart towards that call is rushing now I’ve lived my life”. What is a reader to make of that if you don’t indicate where they should pause? But you don’t have to listen to me: listen to this . . In your piece above, 2 lines out of 21 have got a punctuation-mark at the end of a line; in Thomas’s piece, 16 lines out of 19 have got a punctuation-mark at the end of a line. Listen to him! For me, Rohini, it patently detracts from what is otherwise a well-written poem, with fluid diction and consistent rhymes throughout . . all within the discipline of 10 syllables per line. And it’s a detraction which could be so easily rectified. Reply Rohini Sunderam October 22, 2019 Good points Monty. I need to look at that punctuation again. Thank you for pointing it out. Initially I thought I just needed a full stop at the end of each verse. The first missed stop was an oversight. Reply C.B. Anderson October 22, 2019 Monty, your comments, as always, were astute. The punctuation was atrocious, and I hope never to see a poem from any of the commenters who failed to recognize this. Perhaps the only good line in the whole poem was: Let me learn from the deathbed of the sun though, even here, the meter is out of kilter, but Dylan Thomas himself was never a stickler for meter. Yikes! What are we to make of this? Is this the new world we’ve created, a place where nothing makes any sense? Reply Julian D. Woodruff October 21, 2019 Am I reading this right? Is all this to say, “It’s my life. Why shouldn’t I leave it whenever I wish”? If so, it’s a death in life attitude, a poetic pall of hopelessness that should make one shudder. Reply Monty October 21, 2019 To answer your initial question: No, I don’t believe you ARE reading it right. To me, it’s not asking: “It’s my life: why shouldn’t I leave it whenever I wish?”. It’s simply saying that when the time comes – as it must for us all – then the author/narrator will (when on her deathbed, as mentioned in L12) accept the inevitable without remorse, without complaint . . and go gently into that night. There’s logic in that. In his piece, Thomas was urging his father (who was slowly dying) to do the opposite; to fight death, to defy death, to maintain the will to live. There’s logic in that also. But either way, I fail to see how you’ve somehow interpreted it to mean that the author/narrator is trying to justify thoughts of suicide or euthanasia. Reply Rohini Sunderam October 22, 2019 No, it is just a plea to let me go when I am ready. Monty has received it as intended, a counter argument to Dylan Thomas’ Do No Go Gentle… Reply Rich Murphy October 28, 2020 Rohini, this is beautiful. I am dealing with my ill father that is slowly slipping away. I was looking up the Dylan Thomas quote when I came across your counterpoint poem. So apropos of my moment. I sent it to my mother with a question if this is the path she’s chosen to shepherd my father across the threshold. Thank you. Rohini Sunderam October 28, 2020 Replying to Rich Murphy, After all this time to receive a message like yours, and to know that my words have touched a chord, is probably the single most encouraging thing for me as a writer. Thank you so very much. I am moved and honoured that you wish to share the sentiment and the poem with your mother. C.B. Anderson October 22, 2019 Julian, even if it does not make one shudder, it should make one wonder how we have come to this place. Life is a gift, not an onerous burden, and who are we to shuffle such a gift into the midden of discarded refuse? Reply Psul October 22, 2019 Namaste. Rohini, you are a wise woman! Bows. Reply Rohini Sunderam October 22, 2019 No, it is just a plea to let me go when I am ready. Monty has received it as intended, a counter argument to Dylan Thomas’ Do No Go Gentle… Reply Rohini Sunderam October 22, 2019 Thank you! Reply Christina October 22, 2019 Beautiful, Robini! For me lines 3 to 5 say it all. The echo of Newman’s oft-sung hymn ‘Abide with me’ is lovely, but I would put an upper case ‘M’, as I read this call as coming down instead of going up! Interpretation will, of courrse, depend on whether the reader believes death to be a beginning or an end. This poem flowed perfectly for me, so I didn’t notice the punctuation omissions that Monty has commented on. Thank you for this entry. I love it. Reply Rohini Sunderam October 22, 2019 Thank you! Reply Christina October 22, 2019 Apologies for getting your name wrong. My sight is v bad and h and b look the same to me! C.B. Anderson October 22, 2019 Christina, if you believe everything you wrote is true, then you have no business commenting on the elements of formal structures. Go back to knitting and learn therefrom what happens when you miss a stitch. Reply Christina October 24, 2019 Mr. Anderson, I am not aware that I have commented anywhere on the ‘elements of formal structures’, and I do not understand what you mean by this comment, which I would ignore, were it not for its gratuitous, patromising and sexist rudeness. Another poster has recently commented at length on your ego, and here you give evidence of both an oversized ego and breathtaking arrogance. I was fortunate to have been educated (in England) in the days when children were exposed to classical poetry from primary school onward. They had poetry read to them for enjoyment and recited it, and thereby acquired a natural sense of rhyme and rhythn long before the matter of scansion raised its head for formal examination purposes. Before you were born I had learned to love poetry, and whether it was in classical Latin, middle English, modern English or Romance languages, knowledge of the appropriate formal structures, or the ‘nuts and bolts’ of poetry, added nothing to my understanding or enjoyment of it. Were I a poet, such knowledge might be essential, but I am merely a reader, and one for whom a poem such as Rohini’s leads to a sort of meditation into which ideas beyond those of the poet’s own intent are assimilated. Lamartine’s ‘Méditations Poétiques’ much impressed me in my student days and gave me a particular love of poetry with ‘meditative potential’. Surely a society such as the SCP can accommodate all lovers of classical poetry no matter how they approach and experience it. Finally, Mr. Anderson, if you must insult a woman with the suggestion that she return to her knittimg (a craft in which many men excel), then learn the difference between a missed stitch and a dropped one Parvinder Kaur October 22, 2019 You have your way with words Rohini, and I’ve always only learnt from them. Beautiful piece. Congratulations Reply C.B. Anderson October 22, 2019 Parvinder, I suspect that English is not your first language. It’s not your fault. Reply C.B. Anderson October 25, 2019 Christina, there’s no need to hide behind your sex. You might as well call me a racist. Either way, I don’t care. Some things are true whether or not they fit the profile of political correctness. Bad diction, bad grammar, bad sentence structure and bad punctuation are bad no matter how noble the intentions of an author. I see that you are a forgiving sort, which, in my mind, is a good thing, but only up to a point. I do not knit, and I thank you for pointing out that there’s a difference between a missed stitch and a dropped one. But I fear that such liberalism of thought (earlier presented) will likely spell the end of the United Kingdom as it has been known for centuries. The stiff upper lip is a thing of the past, and English formal poetry might die in England, just a s it was born there. Your comments, by the way, were much better than the poem that elicited them. Reply Gordon Simmonds November 1, 2020 Quote: “midden of discarded refuse” – tautology – from a master of unconstructive criticism. I’m sure he thinks the only poetry worth reading is his own. Reply rohini sunderam November 1, 2020 Responding to Gordon Simmonds, many thanks for reading my poem and your gallant support. 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