Tuesday, April 26, 2016

Rage, rage against the dying of the light


Poems were never my area of interest. Forget writing one, I could never even bring myself to understand how people could love them. Give me prose over poetry any day and I’ll be happy. And that feeling still stands true to this day. Nonetheless, I’ve somehow grown to understand that not all poetry is boring, or full of rhyming words and alliterations. No, that’s definitely not the case. And it took me a better half of two decades to reach to that conclusion.

In late 2014, Christopher Nolan came out with a movie on space travel – Interstellar. First things first, if you haven’t seen this movie yet, you’ve missed out on a spectacular visual treat. Also, we shouldn’t really be friends. As the movie progresses, Michael Caine happens to read out a poem to Matthew McConaughey that plummets the movie’s plot into a deeper chasm. Now it may all sound to hyperbolic but you have to see the movie and let its background score do all the magic while the poem sinks in. Oh yes, that poem, and even that oration, is as beautiful as dark it is. 

As it may be clear by now, I’m no poem aficionado and so all that I remember of that poem are these opening lines:

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.
 

A bit fatalistic right? Well, that’s how I like it. Anyhow, here’s the full poem for you:

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.

Honestly, I don’t even fully understand what the poet is trying to say here. That’s the primary reason why I never really liked poems. They’re like a puzzle within a puzzle, and too complicated for my taste. Anyhow, so the poem is a little dark and confusing, but it somehow makes perfect sense when you are watching the movie.

I’m still skeptical about poetry because everybody says it’s so good and yet all I can see is a bunch of fancy words stuck together across small paragraphs of 2-3 lines. And then you have sonnets and whatnot! However, I’m trying to change this illusion and would love it if you can send across a couple of your favorite poems – the ones that make sense to a reader like me.

And no, this is not a thought-provoking piece that will make you ponder over something life-changing. This was just a thought itching in my head that I had to reach out to and give a good scratch. There you have it. Go on now, off to whatever you are supposed to be doing. Farewell.