Dylan Thomas’ “Do Not Go Gentle into That Good Night” and Catherine Davis’ “After a Time” are two very similar poems that demand comparison, as Davis’ poem is in reply to Thomas’. From a reader’s point of view, these two poems seem to have a great deal of comparison than being dissimilar. Through an in depth analysis of these particular poems, “Do Not Go Gentle into That Good Night” and “After a Time” have been proven to have high similarity points in the many different aspects of poetry, such as theme, thought process and structure.
At first glance, both poems seem to be read as a death related piece of writing. Though, this is where the contrast part comes in. In Thomas’ poem, he tells the reader about resisting death as best as you can and sees death as something we can overcome or try to avoid with all of our might and strength. He says if we can “Rage, rage against the dying of the light (Thomas 3),” then we can lead ourselves away from death. He then goes saying that death is the worst thing that could happen to anyone and if we can shy away from it as much as possible, it’ll be for the best. In Davis’ poem “After a Time,” she explains to the reader, if death is upon you, you should accept it and let it take you away. She explains in her poem that “we go stripped at last the way we came (Davis 3),” as in, we leave this world the same as we came into it. Though Davis has different views on how we should deal with death. She “answers” Thomas’ poem with the same amount of thought process and structure of the idea.
When analyzing Thomas’ poem, we read that he is talking about life on the broader sense; that there is more to life than waiting until death knocks you out. On line five, “because their words had forked no lightning (Thomas 5),” it is described as the people who haven’t made a big mark in the world yet. He is trying to illustrate the fact that people should really fight back and do something worth being remembered by. Living life is more like getting zapped by an electrical shock than feeling the gentle rays of the everyday sun. This idea also comes back on line 14; “Blind eyes could blaze like meteors (Thomas 14).” Even though their eyes are fading away, they can still “see” and they have the power to choose how they want to die; they plan to go out with a bang. In that same stanza (2) on Davis’ poem, she writes “Though we shall probe, time and again, our shame…all losses are the same (Davis 4, 6)” which means people who are dying do not regret any choices or failures they had, since all losses are the same. Davis essentially says that we are born stripped and die stripped of our physical and mental qualities, so there is nothing more to worry about in death because we all eventually go through it. Thomas declares that life and death relate to the sunrise and sunset. Between these two poems so far, there are some qualities that are the same. He wants everyone to do as much as the can to make the most out of life and to end with a big spark; so does Davis. She wants older people who are on the verge of dying to live their life to the fullest, but at the same time, she wants them to go peacefully without fight or struggle.
There are a few picked lines that stand out in both poems. In Thomas’ poem on line 10, he refers to those who don’t allow themselves to go quietly as “wild men.” “Who caught and sang the sun in flight (Thomas 10);” the kind of people that capture life around them and celebrate it, only to discover that the world around them in crumbling. On the same line Davis’ “After a Time,” she writes, “Nothing so much as this bare thought subdues (Davis 11).” These lines are in response to the “wild men” that Thomas states, describing that they are only subdued by the bare thought of mortality.
My opinion on these two unique poems conflict greatly. On one hand, Thomas is afraid of losing his father’s life (stated in the last stanza of his poem), and anyone else’s life in his family really, because it’s heartbreaking to see someone you love fall out of your arms, so he wants them to fight for their life. He might even be thinking only of himself in the sense. As much as he wants his father to stay alive, his father might not even want to. Maybe he would like to die peacefully with no struggle as Davis thinks everyone should go. She accepts death for what it is because she knows that it’s going to happen no matter how hard we try to shy away from it. Finalizing this thought, we can all do great things in life, whether it’s early or late, we all make the most of our lives by spending time loving those who are close to us. Accepting death is one of those things you just have to do. Only that person will know when the time is right to leave, or when their sun will set.
Each line of Davis’ “After a Time” is on a more subtle level in response to Thomas’ “Do Not Go Gentle into That Good Night.” Davis states that letting things go and accepting death is a part of life. Thomas explains that old men at the end of their lives should resist death as long as they can. Each of these poems is very similar to each other; from thought process to digging deep into the meaning of each line.