Do not go gentle into that good night – Dylan Thomas finds himself the subject of a copyright battle in New York!

This bit comes under the heading of “How Ridiculous”

Dylan Thomas in a pose that reflects all the stereotypes assumed about him!

Dylan Thomas in a pose that reflects all the stereotypes assumed about him!

Its a convoluted story that I just watched on the news – some idiot claims he owns two photos of Dylan and Caitlin in their youth, that the Welsh Tourist Agency used in their promotion of the centenary of his birth in 2014.  (date of birth: 27 October 1914 in Swansea – date of death: 9 November 1953) 

Now, you would think that of all the entities that had a right to claim Dylan Thomas as their own, it would be the Welsh Government – but they are being sued for using these photographs as part of their promotional material for a New York walking tour round Dylan Thomas’s favourite haunts.

(You probably know that Dylan died in America, supposedly having drunk himself to death, but there were a number of very interesting programmes last year disputing this simplistic explanation.)

This bloke – I didn’t catch the name, (but I will add it later, or maybe I won’t, his name isn’t worthy of a place in this post) – apparently says he bought the copyright off the original owner, and is suing for millions.

I hope they throw the case out of court!  What a mean miserly person – trying to make money out of someone else’s well deserved fame!  And doesn’t he know that we’re broke – we can’t even afford to fund the NHS properly!

Dylan Thomas + Bob Dylan, who so admired him that he stole his name!

Dylan Thomas + Bob Dylan, who so admired him that he stole his name!

I’m not sure whether I caught something in an earlier bulletin, if so it was a subconscious decision to look at this poem, but just as I was choosing what I wanted to put up in a blog about one of Dylan’s most famous poems …..

Do Not Go Gentle into That Good Night

……… the piece on the court case came on the tv!  I was thinking of a friend of mine, who writes, but seems not to have heard of this poem, and I was just going to send it to her by email, but then I thought, it would be nice to save the videos and  text on a blog, then I’d always know where to find it!

So first, you have the privilege of listening to the man himself reading his poem – his voice is mesmerising!

And this is the text of that poem, that when I first read it, sent shivers down my spine, and remains, to this day, one of my all time favourite poems.

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 that 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. 

And here is a long but quite interesting, and boring in parts, lecture by Dr Andrew Barker, picking the poem apart and putting it together again – skip this if you want!
But do read this long and detailed biography that I found on PoetHunter.com, if you want to know more about the man.
http://www.poemhunter.com/dylan-thomas/biography/

2 thoughts on “Do not go gentle into that good night – Dylan Thomas finds himself the subject of a copyright battle in New York!

  1. Reminds me of one of my favourite Samuel Beckett quotes – ‘Perhaps my best years are gone… But I wouldn’t want them back. Not with the fire that’s in me now.’

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