Get out the microscope, because we’re going through this poem line-by-line.
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.
- The speaker describes another kind of men – those who don't allow themselves to fade quietly away into death, "Wild men" (line 10).
- What sort of men are we talking about? The kind who captured the world around them in their imagination and celebrated it – "who caught and sang the sun in flight" (line 11) – only to discover that the world they celebrated was slowly dissolving around them as comrades age and die.
- Here the sun represents the beauty that exists in the mortal world, and its "flight" across the sky represents the lifespan of people living in this world.
- "Flight" also suggests that it moves rapidly – our lives are just the blink of an eye.
- So just when you think you're partying to celebrate birth and life, symbolized by the sunrise, you find out that you're actually mourning death, symbolized by the sunset.