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INTO THE NIGHT WITH DYLAN THOMAS, QUEEN, ANNE BRONTË AND ELTON JOHN.

Dylan Thomas was born in the first year of World War I (1914). He was 25 when WWII

started. He could not go to war because he had poor health but he probably saw many of his young friends and acquaintances going to war and perhaps never return. In 1941, his hometown, Swansea, was bombed for three nights by the Luftwaffe. Death was a constant personal and social presence during Thomas’s life. His father died when he was 38, just one year younger than the age Dylan passed on. His most famous poem is this one "Do Not Go Gentle Into That Good Night," which was published in 1952. Thomas passed away a year after this poem was published.


Now listen to a poem Dylan Thomas wrote for his father. Complete the lines.


DO NOT GO GENTLE INTO THAT GOOD NIGHT

Do not go gentle into that good night,

Old age should burn and rave at close of (1) ................;

Rage, rage against the dying of the (2) ………………


Though wise men at their end know dark is (3) ....................,

Because their words had forked no lightning (4)................

Do not go gentle into that good night.


Good men, the last wave by, crying how (5) .....................

Their frail deeds might have danced in a green (6)................,

Rage, rage against the dying of the light.


(7) ............... men who caught and sang the sun in flight,

And (8) ................, too late, they grieved it on its way,

Do not go gentle into that good night.


(9) ................ men, near death, who see with blinding sight

(10) .............. eyes could blaze like meteors and be gay,

Rage, rage against the dying of the light.


And you, my father, there on the sad (11) .................,

Curse, bless, me now with your fierce tears,

I (12) ............... Do not go gentle into that good night.

Rage, rage against the dying of the light.


In your opinion, what does ‘Do not go gentle into that good night’ mean?


• Life and death are recurrent themes in poetry, perhaps even more than love. Do you know any other poems on the same themes?

• Do you know any similar poems in Italian?


Like as the waves make towards the pebbled shore,

So do our minutes hasten to their end;

Each changing place with that which goes before

William Shakespeare, Sonnet 60


Dylan Thomas was born in Swansea, on the south-west coast of Wales. The sea is also a

constant presence in his poetry. Look at the poem again. There is at least one word or

phase that refers to water and, especially the sea. Find it and explain the meaning.


• During the second read, answer the Close Read questions about theme, symbolic nature, and personal connection in the close read column.





THE NIGHT COMES DOWN (1973) by Queen


This mesmerizing track, written by Brian May, delves deep into the emotions of loneliness, despair, and longing for something more meaningful in life. With its poetic lyrics and melancholic melody, it has captivated listeners for decades.

The song opens with a soft and delicate guitars. Freddie Mercury’s tender vocals then come in, painting a vivid picture of a troubled soul searching for solace in the darkness of the night. The lyrics speak of a restless heart, burdened by the weight of life’s disappointments and yearning for a sense of belonging.



When I was ____________ it came to me

And I could see the ____________ breakin'

Lucy was high and so was I dazzling

Holding the ____________ inside

Once I believed in ev'ryone

Everyone and anyone can see


Oh oh the night comes down

And I get afraid of losing my ____________

Oh oh the night comes down

Oooh and it's dark again


Once I could ____________ with ev'ryone

Once I could see the ____________ in me

The black and the white distinctively coloring

Holding the world inside

Now all the world is ____________ to me

Nobody can see you gotta believe it


Repeat Chorus


• What is the significance of the guitars in the song intro?


• Can you explain the symbolism in the lyrics of the song? What does the “night” mean

here, what did it mean in Dylan Thomas’s poem?


ANNE BRONTË


Anne was born 17 January 1820, youngest child of Patrick Brontë and Maria

Branwell Brontë. Her mother died when she was only a year old, and when

the two oldest siblings Elizabeth and Maria died of consumption in 1825,

Anne was really too young to remember.


Night (1845)


I love the silent hour of night,

For blissful dreams may then arise,

Revealing to my charmed sight

What may not bless my waking eyes.


And then a voice may meet my ear,

That death has silenced long ago;

And hope and rapture may appear

Instead of solitude and woe.


Cold in the grave for years has lain

The form it was my bliss to see;

And only dreams can bring again,

The darling of my heart to me.


The course of Night follows the speaker contemplating the power of nighttime in contrast to the day. The narrator — presumably Anne Brontë herself — expresses a very specific emotion that the nighttime brings out. It is a strange combination of solitude, loneliness, and comfort, coupled with what appears to be heartsickness. It is a complicated poem, for all its simplicity, because of how intensely it examines the emotion. It is written in a simple alternating rhyme pattern (ABAB-CDCD-EFEF), and can be broken up into three quatrains, though the first two are written as a single

verse.


There is a distinct difference between daydreaming and dreaming at night; at night, of course, dreams are more vivid, and typically, for a brief time, the dreamer believes that the dream is itself reality. That the night is “silent” is important — it means there are no distractions to pull the dreamer awake. Another important word choice here is “may;” even though the dreams are not always blissful, they are still worth looking forward to, because sometimes — just sometimes — they are.


In these dreams, the idea is to see with “charmed eyes,” which is to say eyes that are not seeing the real world, something that no longer exists outside of the dream. Dreams can recapture the past, and bring to life the dead, which is exactly what is happening here. The voice in the dream belongs to a person who died a long time before the dream took place, but still, the dreamer waits, every night, for the chance to hear it again and remember perfectly what it sounded like in life.


“Rapture” is a word with two meanings: it can refer to an intense sensation of joy, or it can refer to the biblical Second Coming of Christ. That the subject of this dream is dead suggests that perhaps their presence in the dream is a kind of “second coming,” and that by appearing in a dream, they are returning to life, briefly, to be with their loved one in whatever capacity is possible.


Did you know that…?


1. We just remember 10% of what we dreamt

2. People who are born blind do not see any images, but have dreams equally vivid

involving their other senses of sound, smell, touch and emotion.

3. In our dreams we only see faces we have seen.

4. Not everybody dreams in color. A full 12% of sighted people dream exclusively in

black and white. The remaining number dream in full color.

CAN YOU FEEL THE LOVE TONIGHT? (1994) by Elton John



There's a calm __________

To the __________ of day

When the heat of a rolling __________

Can be turned away

An enchanted __________

And it sees me through

It's enough for this restless __________

Just to be with you


And can you feel the love tonight? (tonight)

It is where we are

It's enough for this wide-eyed wanderer

That we got this far

And can you feel the love tonight? (tonight)

How it's laid to rest?

It's enough to make kings and vagabonds

Believe the very best


There's a time for __________

If they only learn

That the twisting __________

Moves us all in turn

There's a __________ and reason

To the wild __________

When the heart of this star-crossed voyager

Beats in time with yours


Repeat Chorus


The “night” has four different meanings and it symbolizes and evokes four different feelings. Which ones?

• Which one(s) of the symbol(s) above best represent the night for you? Explain your

answer.


Riccardo Zambon, 11 November 2023


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