Dylan Thomas: ‘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.

 

Dylan Thomas, 1914 – 1953

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Svetlana Alexievich

Svetlana AleSvetlana Alexievichxievich is an investigative journalist and winner of the 2015 Nobel Prize for Literature. She was praised “for her polyphonic writings, a monument to suffering and courage in our time”.

If that sounds a bit obtuse, try reading her speech to the Nobel Foundation, delivered a few days ago.

Caution: some of these stories will tear at your heart-strings.

I drove to a hospital for Afghan civilians with a group of nurses – we brought presents for the children. Toys, candy, cookies. I had about five teddy bears. We arrived at the hospital, a long barracks. No one has more than a blanket for bedding. A young Afghan woman approached me, holding a child in her arms. She wanted to say something – over the last ten years almost everyone here has learned to speak a little Russian – and I handed the child a toy, which he took with his teeth. “Why his teeth?” I asked in surprise. She pulled the blanket off his tiny body – the little boy was missing both arms. “It was when your Russians bombed.” Someone held me up as I began to fall.

Suggestion: Don’t try to skim through this. Save it for your lunch break or, better still, print it out and curl up somewhere quiet.

The online version’s here. The English PDF is here.
[Text length: 5,300 words. Typical reading time:18 mins]

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Great Writing: Charles Dickens

Mr and Mrs Veneering were brand-new people in a brand-new house in a brand-new quarter of London. Everything about the Veneerings was spick and span new. All their furniture was new, all their friends were new, all their servants were new, their plate was new, their carriage was new, their harness was new, their horses were new, their pictures were new, they themselves were new, they were as newly married as was lawfully compatible with their having a brand-new baby, and if they had set up a great-grandfather, he would have come home in matting from the Pantechnicon, without a scratch upon him, French polished to the crown of his head.

For, in the Veneering establishment, from the hall-chairs with the new coat of arms, to the grand pianoforte with the new action, and upstairs again to the new fire-escape, all things were in a state of high varnish and polish. And what was observable in the furniture, was observable in the Veneerings–the surface smelt a little too much of the workshop and was a trifle sticky.

Charles Dickens, Our Mutual Friend, Chapter 2

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