We need more poets. We need more poets that don’t require explanation, who can be appreciated by those who never took a college class in literature and by those who feel that poems must rhyme to be good (who is a little bit of both, and a little bit more of neither). We need poets who embody a place, a country, a people. There is a lot of great poetry out there – a lot of magnificent, ethereal, impactful poetry. But there’s not near enough poetry that is immediately accessible to all.
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.
Dylan Thomas was one of those poets. And story teller, and playwright. (One of my very favorites of his is the poetic essay, “A Child’s Christmas in Wales”; a well rendered reading of it will always bring me to tears, not at all because it is sad, but because it is so beautiful.) While he was the voice of everyman, he was the heart and soul of Wales (even though he hated the idea of Welsh nationalism). His poems are not simplistic, but neither are they distant. His story echoes so many of ours. And he died too young – barely 39 – too poor, too ruined and too self-destructive. What grace might we all have found had he lived longer, and better. If only, if only…