The first line of a poem by Dylan Thomas. I have always taken it to mean that we should live our lives to the fullest, not letting the inevitability of death sap from us the meaning and zest of life. We are only here for a short time, and we must make the most of it, making the world a better place for the others who share this planet with us, sparks of life in a dark universe.
Reading a little about the poem tonight, I learned that Thomas wrote it for his dying, aged father.
- 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.
Knowing it is written for a man at the end of his life makes me think it is trying to urge him to cling to life, rather than arguing for the full life. The analysis at Wikipedia argues that Thomas wrote it as much for himself as for his father, which brings us back to the idea that it is urging a full life.
What do you think? How do you interpret the poem?