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Reconstructing the Body: The Science, Spirituality and Culture by David F Williams

Reconstructing the Body:
The Science, Spirituality & Culture
Written by David F Williams, 2023

The Dominions of Life and Death  ~  Page 20


And death shall have no dominion
Dead men naked they shall be one
With the man in the wind and the west moon
When their bones are picked clean and the clean bones gone

Dylan Thomas, “And Death Shall Have no Dominion”, 19361

With its origins back in the Christian bible, (Romans 6:9), the Welsh poet Dylan Thomas seeks to reinforce the claim that death shall not have any control over the human soul. All infirmity that the human in physical form might have suffered, will be put right, “Though they go mad they shall be sane.” It is death that is ephemeral, not life itself.

William Butler Yeats, the Irish poet, had different, but yet conflicting, views on this, espousing the power exerted by death over man:

Nor dread nor hope attend
A dying animal,
A man awaits his end
Dreading and hoping all;
Many times he died
Many times rose again.
A great man in his pride
Confronting murderous men
Casts derision upon
Supersession of breath;
He knows death to the bone –
Man has created death.

William Butler Yeats “Death”, 19332

Accepting the inevitable:

When you are old and grey and full of sleep
And nodding by the fire, take down this book,
And slowly read, and dream of the soft look
Your eyes had once, and of their shadows deep

Williams Butler Yeats “When you are old”, 18933

1 Dylan Thomas, “And Death Shall Have no Dominion” In ‘Poems of Dylan Thomas’ Ed. Daniel Jones, New Directions, revised 2003, p55. ISBN 978-0-8112-1541-1.
2 William Butler Yeats “Death”, In ‘Yeats’ Poems’, Ed A. Norman Jeffries, Macmillan, London, 1991, p348, ISBN 0-333-51061-5.
3 Williams Butler Yeats, “When you are old”, ibid. p76.