Wednesday, March 08, 2006

Death Be Not Proud

I went to a funeral yesterday, and I was reminded again how we do not grieve like those "who have no hope" (1 Thess 4:13). Several years ago in an Easter message, Alfred contrasted two poems about death, one by Dylan Thomas and one by John Donne. They really capture the contrast of grieving with and without hope. I am so thankful for hope.

"Do Not Go Gentle Into that Good Night," by Dylan Thomas

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 the 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.

"Death Be Not Proud," by John Donne

DEATH be not proud, though some have called thee
Mighty and dreadfull, for, thou art not so,
For, those, whom thou think'st, thou dost overthrow,
Die not, poore death, nor yet canst thou kill me.
From rest and sleepe, which but thy pictures bee,
Much pleasure, then from thee, much more must flow,
And soonest our best men with thee doe goe,
Rest of their bones, and soules deliverie.
Thou art slave to Fate, Chance, kings, and desperate men,
And dost with poyson, warre, and sicknesse dwell,
And poppie, or charmes can make us sleepe as well,
And better then thy stroake; why swell'st thou then;
One short sleepe past, wee wake eternally,
And death shall be no more; death, thou shalt die.

5 comments:

windofhebel said...

hey friend,

it's strange that you should mention Donne. i just quoted this poem to a friend of mine in reference to Al Groves' situation. that is the hope i have - that some day, death itself will die.

Molly said...

Amen! Thanks for sharing -- and if you get a chance, I'd love to hear how Al is doing lately.

Melodee said...

Thanks, Molly, these are two of my favorite poems, and they do make a great contrast. I don't remember that sermon...you don't know the name of it, by any chance?

windofhebel said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Molly said...

Sorry, Melodee, I don't remember the name of the sermon. I have the tape somewhere, but I'm not sure where it is -- if I find it, I'll let you know!