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Do not go gentle

May 21, 2018

I am in Swansea tonight, because I am teaching a course here tomorrow. I have fond memories of Swansea; I did my PGCE here back in the 80s. Naturally the first thing I did on arriving was to go to a pub; and in that pub they had a big mural of Dylan Thomas, who is, of course, Swansea’s most famous son. There he was, with his curly hair and big eyes and snub nose and pink, pouty lips, looking like a very clever but rather petulant child; and underneath was probably the most famous line he ever wrote. Or rather an approximation to it. “Do not go gently into the good night,” it said.

Gently.

Oh, do come on. I mean, just come on. As any fule kno, that ought to be Do not go gentle into that good night. Yes, gentle is ungrammatical, but that’s intentional. How they could have got that wrong – in Swansea itself, of all places – well, frankly it beggars belief, especially when you think of all the people who must have seen that mural before it was officially unveiled. And nobody said anything.

Do not go gently. Sic. That’s how it makes me feel.

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2 Comments
  1. Simon Carter permalink

    Perhaps it was a joke on drunken tourists who’ve misquoted the poem over the years?

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