John Donoghue


For George at 65

After Dylan Thomas

Do not go gentle into Medicare,
its smiling face a Judas goat’s disguise;
rage, rage against the dyeing of your hair.

To beg for senior discounts everywhere
is sad—embarrassed friends avert their eyes
then shove you roughly into Medicare.

And please—those sappy golden years? What’s there?
A golden walker, and a cane—surprise!
Rage, rage at those with extra volume hair.

Of old-man groups in coffee shops—beware:
they’ll bitch, they’ll blame, your brain they’ll pulverize
and you’ll go mental into Medicare.

When recollections vanish in thin air
just fake it with a pack of whopping lies;
rage, rage, and claim you once wore mohawk hair.

My friend, live large, live bold, take Prufrock’s dare
and eat a peach, then pizza and some fries.
Do not go gentle into Medicare.
Rage, rage against the dyeing of your hair.

John Donoghue worked as an engineer in industry before teaching electrical engineering at Cleveland State University for forty years. He retired in 2013. Midway through his teaching years he earned an MFA from the Warren Wilson Program for Writers, and his poetry has appeared in journals such as AGNI, Alaska Quarterly Review, Prairie Schooner, The Virginia Quarterly Review, the British medical journal The Lancet, and the anthology The Book of Irish American Poetry. His two collections are A Small Asymmetry and Precipice.