We are a commune of inquiring, skeptical, politically centrist, capitalist, anglophile, traditionalist New England Yankee humans, humanoids, and animals with many interests beyond and above politics. Each of us has had a high-school education (or GED), but all had ADD so didn't pay attention very well, especially the dogs. Each one of us does "try my best to be just like I am," and none of us enjoys working for others, including for Maggie, from whom we receive neither a nickel nor a dime. Freedom from nags, cranks, government, do-gooders, control-freaks and idiots is all that we ask for.
Not but they die, the teasers and the dreams, Not but they die, and tell the careful flood To give them what they clamour for and why.
You could not fancy where they rip to blood You could not fancy nor that mud I have heard speak that will not cake or dry.
Our claims to act appear so small to these Our claims to act colder lunacies That cheat the love, the moment, the small fact.
Make no escape because they flash and die, Make no escape build up your love, Leave what you die for and be safe to die.
I believe this quasi- villanelle was written in the 1930s. I have quoted a brief bio of Empson on the continuation page below, from this site.
Empson, Sir William
b. Sept. 27, 1906, Hawdon, Yorkshire, Eng. d. April 15, 1984, London
British poet and critic known for his immense influence on 20th-century literary criticism and for his rational, metaphysical poetry.
Empson was educated at Winchester College and at Magdalene College, Cambridge. He earned degrees in mathematics and in English literature, which he studied under I.A. Richards. His first poems were published during this time. Several of the verses published in Empson's Poems (1935) also were written while he was an undergraduate and reflect his knowledge of the sciences and technology, which he used as metaphors in his largely pessimistic assessment of the human lot. Much influenced by John Donne, the poems are personal, politically unconcerned (despite the preoccupation with politics in the 1930s), elliptical, and difficult, even though he provided some explanatory notes. Later collections of his poetry included The Gathering Storm (1940) and Collected Poems (1949; rev. ed. 1955).
Seven Types of Ambiguity (1930; rev. ed. 1953), one of the most influential critical works of the first half of the 20th century, was essentially a close examination of poetic texts. Empson's special contribution in this work was his suggestion that uncertainty or the overlap of meanings in the use of a word could be an enrichment of poetry rather than a fault, and his book abounds with examples. The book helped lay the foundation for the influential critical school known as the New Criticism. Empson applied his critical method to somewhat longer texts in Some Versions of Pastoral (1935) and further elaborated it in The Structure of Complex Words (1951). Empson's verbal analyses were based on the view that poetry's emotive effect derives primarily from the ambiguities and complexities of its cognitive and tonal meanings.
From 1931 to 1934 Empson taught English literature at the University of Tokyo, and he subsequently joined the English faculty of Peking National University in China. He was Chinese editor at the British Broadcasting Corporation during World War II and returned to teach at Peking National University from 1947 to 1952. Empson was professor of English literature at Sheffield University from 1953, becoming emeritus in 1971. He was knighted in 1979.
He was also a distinguished poet who influenced younger poets in the 1950s. His Poems appeared in 1935, The Gathering Storm in 1940, and his Collected Poems in 1955. Empson's poetry is characterized by ingenious conceits using a subject matter drawn from astrophysics, mathematics, and other sciences.
This is a fine poem, but it is not a villanelle. "Do Not Go Gentle Into That Good Night" is a villanelle. So is Auden's "Miranda." In a villanelle, the first and last lines of the first stanza become the alternating last lines of the subsequent four stanzas, then the two together become the concluding lines of the whole poem. Six stanzas, 19 lines in all.
When I was a schoolboy I invited him to come and address our small sixth form literary club and he agreed. My English teachers were appalled that I had somehow persuaded the greatest living critic to come along and address about half a dozen people, but there was no rescinding the invitation. So we all had a a pleasant evening. He was a lovely man.