Imaginary Footnotes, No. 3 | Psalm 23 x Do Not Go Gentle Into That Good Night

I was reading Dylan Thomas the other day and realized that the word “they” after “thy rod and thy staff” in Psalm 23 (KJV) has the same feeling and flavor as the word “they” after “because their words had forked no lightning” in ‘Do Not Go Gentle Into That Good Night’.

The music of these words in their placement is nearly identical.

Has that ever occurred to you?

Look: Psalm No. 23

1 The Lord is my shepherd; I shall not want.

He maketh me to lie down in green pastures: he leadeth me beside the still waters.

He restoreth my soul: he leadeth me in the paths of righteousness for his name's sake.

Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil: for thou art with me; thy rod and thy staff they comfort me.

Thou preparest a table before me in the presence of mine enemies: thou anointest my head with oil; my cup runneth over.

Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life: and I will dwell in the house of the Lord for ever.

And then Dylan Thomas’s poem:

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.

Isn’t that interesting and beautiful?

I couldn’t say if it is a direct reference to Psalm 23 by Thomas. Probably not. But it’s a very specific music that I couldn’t miss.

What do you think?