What good is fighting now? You’re dying. Light
will greet you wherever you go. Or it
will not. Go gentle into that good night.
Why rage against your sleep another night
with fists that won’t unclench the twisted sheet?
What good is fighting now? Your dying light
shines its blossom of sharpened bones. Your plight,
that silent starving moan of your flickering mouth,
will not go. Gentle into the good night
the moth wings beat the window glass. This sight—
your fear, your fight—destroys us, though none can say it.
What good is fighting now your dying light?
And yet we’ve gathered as we should. These nights
of final hours. For you, the family, the last.
We’ll not go gentle into that good night.
Who knows what the heart will say from that sad height?
Childish, perhaps, I pray, I pray I might:
What good is fighting? Now you’re dying. Light
will not. Go gentle into that. Goodnight.
The Image archive is supported in part by an award from the National Endowment for the Arts.