Friday Fictioneers…Rage, rage against the dying of the light

Posted: February 5, 2014 in Friday Fictioneers
Tags: , , , , , , , , ,

Friday Fictioneers writing is  based on the seemingly simple premise of telling a complete story, based on a photo prompt, in 100 words.  Believe me, it’s much more difficult than it appears at first thought.  But each week, close to 100 of us blithely give it whirl, with what degree of success you may feel free to determine.  My story follows.  The link to the stories of the group is found at the very bottom of my post.  If you wish to be a part, we welcome you.  The rules, such as they are, can be found here each Wednesday, as well as information on how to link your post so others can find it.  It’s fun, great practice and so very addicting!

P.S.  Yet another travel week coming up, so I won’t get to all the stories and not any posted late Saturday or thereafter.  Apologies.  Destination?  Costa Rica!!  Completely new place and experience, mother-daughter time, my Christmas gift from a year or so ago.  🙂

copyright by Dawn

copyright by Dawn

Rage, Rage Against the Dying of the Night

Night approached inexorably.  Sometime, in the dark next to his wife, tears seeped from the darkening corners of his eyes.   He’d have preferred deafness to the malaise that would gradually take all light, stealing the painting that fed and shared his soul.  No choice had been offered.

He sought to burn each image into memory’s always-living  (though sometimes changing) files, walked through the house eye closed (“training runs”), painted with manic speed, producing  images torn from his innermost soul.

One day he returned from the art store armed with clay and began to practice.  He vowed he’d not go gentle.


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 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.

~Dylan Thomas

  1. Tom Poet says:

    Awesome as always.

  2. I enjoyed both your story and the poem. Thank you.

  3. Adam Ickes says:

    Great story to go along with my favorite poem.

    • Thanks very much, Adam. I’m chuckling because every time I refresh the InLinkz page, there’s another story. I’m imagining all of us hunched over our laptops, feverishly getting our stories ready and posted. 🙂 Hope you’re not snowed in today.


      • Adam Ickes says:

        haha, yeah. I keep trying to get to the end, but I haven’t made it yet. Everytime I refresh there a more.

        We got some snow, but nothing too bad. I’d like to have a couple feet dumped on us, but it doesn’t look like it’ll happen this winter.

      • I think the folks in Philly (and I know Rochelle) would gladly give you some of theirs!!

  4. Janet,
    I must say, you had me hooked from the title. I love the power and defiance that comes through. That would be a heartbreaking scenario, to see the inevitable approach, but be unable to stop it, especially when it involved your sight (I’m just living it out with my hair 🙂 )

    • With your hair!! Ha! What I liked is that he was fighting back, keeping art in his life, just changing the medium. I enjoyed his defiance, too, in the face of giving up what mattered most to his other than family. Thanks.


      • That’s what defines a fighting spirit, when life throws up an obstacle, they pivot on their heel and attack in a different direction. The world is too full of people overcoming almost insurmountable difficulties for any of us to give up, right?

  5. K.Z. says:

    beautiful story, janet. i liked his spirit, loved the last line.
    P.S. Costa Rica! fabulous. have fun! 🙂

  6. Sandra says:

    You captured the feverishness of his decline into darkness but with a positive outcome. Well done Janet, nice to the poem again.

    • Thanks, Sandra. I’ve often contemplated whether I’d rather be blind or deaf and come down soundly on the side of deaf every time. Hopefully I’ll never have to deal with either, but…


  7. Honie Briggs says:

    I LOVE this, Janet. Dylan Thomas continues to inspire me, and I think you did a wonderful job expressing exactly what he meant by not going gently.

  8. So, so good and very beautiful. I loved how you tied it into the poem and than you for sharing that as well.

  9. Bryan Ens says:

    such a sad story. Well told

  10. M. R. says:

    This is the second time I’ve wanted to ask the question (last time I forgot): why do you post on Wednesday to a challenge with Friday in its title, Janet? – but the post itself is terrific!

    • When the whole thing began, the prompt went out on Friday and then, for a variety of reasons, it began to go out on Thursday and has now rested on Wednesday. But Friday Fictioneers is a good (and the original) title, so there it stays. Glad you enjoyed the story, too.


  11. The last line wrapped this up so nicely. I really enjoyed it.

  12. Beautiful poem to compliment your story. Very well written.

  13. DCTdesigns says:

    Absolutely perfect. I love that he refuses to go gentle into the darkness. The soul of an artist knows no bounds especially if he fights for the light. Great story. P.S. I hope you have a fabulous time in Costa Rica. It’s beautiful.

  14. I’ve always thought, if there was a choice, would it be better to cope if one were blind or deaf?
    No one fears the loss more than an artist.

  15. JackieP says:

    As I’ve seen someone I cared about go slowly blind, I can see him in your story. He fought the good fight too, and didn’t give in easily. Great story janet.

  16. Glynis says:

    This, walk into the dark, was wonderfully told. I like the idea that although he was heading to a place he didn’t want to go, he took with the tools needed to survive. Great write!

  17. Love the piece and the poem. (Dylan who? Bob Dylan?) Went to Costa Rica a year and a half ago with my son. Except for the fact that everyone there is liberal and insists on talking politics, you’ll have a great time!

  18. tedstrutz says:

    A dire circumstance for an artist. Interesting take on the prompt, Janet. Have fun in CR.

  19. subroto says:

    I love that poem it’s one of my favourites. Thanks for posting it. Loved the sad and gentle pace of your post. Incidentally I am in the midst of my travel week 😉 Fortunately I have internet access.

    • Glad you liked both story and poem. As for travel, I’ll have internet but won’t be taking much time away from my first trip to Costa Rica and not a very long one, either. I’m glad you could post and thanks for taking the time to read and comment on mine.


  20. Costa Rica; so excited for you Janet! Have a wonderful trip! I used the Dylan Thomas poem in a post about my mother’s death, 2 years ago… one of my favorites! This is a stirring post. So many of us would struggle with such a horrible loss. Well done!

    • I have no idea how I’d react to a situation like the one my narrator faces…hopefully with as much courage and inspiration as he did! Looking forward to the trip!! I’ve never been there or anywhere like it, so it should be great.


      • I imagine it will be a real experience… I’ve traveled a lot, and seeing the kind of wild life and jungle that Costa Rica has, is truly special! The people there are very interesting as well! Enjoy!

  21. claireful says:

    An interesting question – if you could choose, which would it be? Blindness or deafness? Such a difficult question. But a lovely uplifting story from you this week, Janet. Have a lovely holiday!

  22. draliman says:

    Amazing story. It must be awful to be slowly losing your sight – you described the chap’s feelings beautifully. I’m glad he’s not going quietly and has found a more tactile form of art.

    I hope you have an amazingly good time in Costa Rica 🙂

    • Thanks for all that. I’m looking forward to the vacation and will be able to relax once we’re actually off the ground on time in Chicago, because that will mean our flight wasn’t cancelled or delayed, which is happening all too much these days!


  23. JKBradley says:

    Oh man, I had this video clip running through my head with Rodney Dangerfield from some 80’s movie reciting your title.

  24. Hi Janet,
    Loved the Dylan Thomas theme. Grim, but hopeful at the same time. Reminded me of Beethoven producing all that beautiful music even though he was deaf. Ron

  25. The Good News says:

    I love his passion and the way you used the lamps as a metaphor for it. I’m grateful that writing is my passion because someone else can always type for me. Have fun on your trip!

  26. Su Leslie says:

    Great story; I love the tying together of the photo and Dylan Thomas’s poem. Thomas is one of my favourite writers. I can listen to Under Milkwood over and over again.

    • Su, thanks for stopping in and reading my story. The photo is always the starting point, but sometimes there’s only a very tenuous link between it and the story. This time, the idea of light and the loss of it got the story going and while hunting for a title, I actually was going to use “Go Not Gentle”, but when I read the rest of the poem, the line I chose seemed even more appropriate.


  27. Nan Falkner says:

    Really good take on the prompt. I love this poem too. Thanks! Nan

  28. storydivamg says:

    Janet, I especially like the reference to Dylan Thomas and that you included his original (one of my all-time favorites) here for us to enjoy as well. Your story is strong. The last paragraph particularly sings. I’d like to see a little polishing of the middle paragraph for clarity. I had to read it a couple times for comprehension.

    I hope Costa Rica is fabulous! Thanks for taking the time to write and post.

    All my best,
    Marie Gail

    • Good morning, Marie, and thanks for coming by. I imagine what you’re referring to in the middle paragraph is that memory files part. I’ll think about that a bit. I wanted to convey the idea of trying to remember everything but that things change. Perhaps it was a bit clumsy. Thanks for you input. It’s much appreciated.


      • storydivamg says:

        Yes, Janet. The idea was there, but cloudy for me. I find it helpful when my readers point out that they had to read something twice to get what I’m saying. Usually it means that what has been intended was actually said but perhaps not in the clearest way. I know you’ll work it out. Last week, Rochelle pointed a similar issue out to me, and three changes in punctuation completely resolved it.


        Marie Gail

  29. unspywriter says:

    A great elegy on not accepting the inevitable. Well done.

    Here’s mine:

  30. R. E. Hunter says:

    Nice one, Janet. Yes, going blind would be difficult for anyone, but doubly so for a painter or other visual artist.

  31. babso2you says:

    Good story and the finish with the Dylan piece! No photo showing though…. Hugs to you Janet!

  32. rgayer55 says:

    Great analogy with the lamps, and I always loved that poem. Have a great time in that warm climate while the rest of us hunker down over our keyboards and wait for spring.

  33. Linda Vernon says:

    I can’t think of anything much worse than to be slowly going blind. it’s fascinating how you have him dealing with it. So well imagined and executed. And in only 100 words. So well done Janet!

  34. I love this… and what an awesome comment to Dylan Thomas’ Villanelle… one of my favourite poems ever… I always wow not to write a Villanelle again after reading that one… there are some awesome recordings of him reading it I think.

  35. plaridel says:

    a poignant story. at least, he wasn’t going gently into the night.

  36. liz young says:

    My deaf husband and my blind friend sometimes argued which was rose – they never agreed

  37. I loved the story and tie to the poem. Powerful piece, Janet, and beautifully written. Enjoy Costa Rica with your daughter. That’s sounds wonderful!

  38. A moving and inspiring piece of prose and a great take on the original.

    • Thanks, Patrick. As I mentioned in an earlier reply, I originally was going to use “Do Not Go Gentle” as the title. But the line I used seemed even more appropriate and the whole thing fell together.


  39. penshift says:

    Ah, Thomas reference 🙂 Stuck beautifully to the themes

  40. Bodhirose says:

    I like that he wasn’t taking the diagnosis lying down…and how you linked your write to that very moving work by Dylan Thomas. Nice to see you here, Janet and to reconnect. And have a fun trip with your daughter!


    • Yes, it’s great to reconnect. I’m glad you liked the story. If you feel like joining, the link for information is in my intro. Using only 100 words tends to focus a writer. 🙂


  41. Sun says:

    powerfully written, Janet. for an artist knowing what losses may come in the near future – heart wrenching. you captured the essence very well. have a safe journey over to Costa Rica. ☺

  42. atrm61 says:

    Wonderfully spirited story and I loved the poem Janet:-)

  43. erinleary says:

    Oh, I love this! Really heartfelt and touching. Beautiful!

  44. camgal says:

    Both the story and poem touched me in a different way…such a way with words, very beautiful. Cheers.

  45. Loved ‘his’ spirit
    How he never let it die.
    Lovely story
    and that poem
    A personal favourite…beautifully merged 😀

  46. I have some personal issues going on right now and your story reminds me not to take them too seriously. I thank you for that.

  47. This is very haunting and incredibly well done.

  48. I have always feared going blind. Still do, but it’s not an overriding fear any more.
    I understood this well.

  49. jwdwrites says:

    That was excellent Jan, I really liked the poem at the end it’s such a classic, but it was in good company here. 🙂

  50. Gerry Charb says:

    Bravo! Dylan Thomas and T.S. Elliott are my favorites. Intriguing storytelling style.Thank you for sharing.

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