Home / Uncategorized / I want my Rocky, or on newspapers, futile gestures and poetry

I want my Rocky, or on newspapers, futile gestures and poetry

In my study of literature, I always veered toward prose. I love reading poetry, but I never had a mind to delve into it too deeply, neither was I particularly good at such analysis — at least as far as term papers were concerned. I love merely enjoying the language, and my professors never thought much about what I had to say on the subject. Among my favorite poets is Dylan Thomas. His “Do Not Go Gentle Into That Goodnight” is my favorite poem. The surface sentiment of the title may sound a bit cliche to our cynical ears, but I can’t help but be moved every time I read the poem from start to finish. In the last couple of days, I have found new reason to find comfort in it.

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.

As my newspaper sits on the block with nary a bidder stepping up to invest in its future, the closing of the paper seems all the more inevitable. And yet, this weekend some of my co-workers got together and decided we would not go gentle into that good night. The future of the Rocky Mountain News is at stake and we have a stake in that future, so we’re fighting. Maybe it will come to nothing, but it may buy us a another month of employment, another day. We’ll take what we can get. For a publication that is in its 150th year, it’s the least we can do. We’ve joked about the fact that our fight is, in essence, a stupid futile gesture. But even as we acknowledge as much, we believe journalism has never been a futile gesture. (So did the founding fathers, who enshrined the important role of the press in the First Amendment to our Constitution. )

The money guys may not be moved by our little project (www.iwantmyrocky.com), but someone else with deep pockets out there might be. If nothing else, the noise makes us feel better.

It brings to mind another Thomas poem, “In my Craft or Sullen Art.”

Not for the proud man apart
From the raging moon I write
On these spindrift pages
Nor for the towering dead
With their nightingales and psalms
But for the lovers, their arms
Round the griefs of the ages,
Who pay no praise or wages
Nor heed my craft or art.

Maybe nobody will miss newspapers except for the sad sacks like me who still work for them, but when my grandchildren ask me what they are, I’ll have a story.


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *