I look in the glass, who's that staring back?
Not the person who's inside I swear.
On the bus and the shops I'm still taken aback
How come they're calling me 'sir'?
I will try and accept the advice
Not cowed at the close of the day
I’ll go kicking, not gently into the long night.
Dylan Thomas was right
And I have won races I’ve heard the applause
I’ve stood in the light on the stage
But the past is still with us, never quite disappears
But it struggles to brighten the dimming of age
If only youth knew, if only age could
This frustration of being alive
There’s so much I believe, so much I denounce
But life's mystery persists to confound me.
Life’s mystery persists to confound me.
Getting old seems to creep up unnoticed and then one day it hits you and you wonder how the hell you got here. Especially as inside, you feel like the same 18 year old you always were. Dylan Thomas was a famous Welsh poet who wrote a poem about how to face old age and death ‘Do not go gently into that good night’ which I have obviously paraphrased in this song. I actually asked the Dylan Thomas estate if I could quote one of his lines but they said no.
In fact though, the song was inspired not by Dylan Thomas but by a book written by a friend of mine, Lynne Segal, ‘Out of Time: the perils and pleasures of ageing’. The second verse heavily borrows an idea I read there. Oh, and while I’m owning up, the middle 8 about youth knowing and age not able, is based on a French saying I heard at school (years and bloody years ago.) A lot of ‘influences’ in the lyrics of this song.
The short tune at the end of the song is also taken from a previous work, though in this case mine. Listen to the end of ‘Older’ on the Bringing Rosa Home album.