Learn More

Thom Gunn

(29 August 1929 – 25 April 2004 / England)

The Dump


He died, and I admired
the crisp vehemence
of a lifetime reduced to
half a foot of shelf space.
But others came to me saying,
we too loved him, let us take you
to the place of our love.
So they showed me
everything, everything--
a cliff of notebooks
with every draft and erasure
of every poem he
published or rejected,
thatched already
with webs of annotation.
I went in further and saw
a hill of matchcovers
from every bar or restaurant
he'd ever entered. Trucks
backed up constantly,
piled with papers, and awaited
by archivists with shovels;
forklifts bumped through
trough and valley
to adjust the spillage.
Here odors of rubbery sweat
intruded on the pervasive
smell of stale paper,
no doubt from the mound
of his collected sneakers.
I clambered up the highest
pile and found myself
looking across not history
but the vistas of a steaming
range of garbage
reaching to the coast itself. Then
I lost my footing! and was
carried down on a soft
avalanche of letters, paid bills,
sexual polaroids, and notes
refusing invitations, thanking
fans, resisting scholars.
In nightmare I slid,
no ground to stop me,

until I woke at last
where I had napped beside
the precious half foot. Beyond that,
nothing, nothing at all.

Submitted: Friday, January 03, 2003

Do you like this poem?
0 person liked.
0 person did not like.

Read poems about / on: history, poem, lost, thanks

Read this poem in other languages

This poem has not been translated into any other language yet.

I would like to translate this poem »

word flags

What do you think this poem is about?

Comments about this poem (The Dump by Thom Gunn )

Enter the verification code :

There is no comment submitted by members..

Trending Poets

Trending Poems

  1. Invictus, William Ernest Henley
  2. The Saddest Poem, Pablo Neruda
  3. The Road Not Taken, Robert Frost
  4. If, Rudyard Kipling
  5. Do Not Stand At My Grave And Weep, Mary Elizabeth Frye
  6. If You Forget Me, Pablo Neruda
  7. Stopping by Woods on a Snowy Evening, Robert Frost
  8. Dreams, Langston Hughes
  9. Do Not Go Gentle Into That Good Night, Dylan Thomas
  10. XVII (I do not love you...), Pablo Neruda

Poem of the Day

poet James Whitcomb Riley

There! little girl; don't cry!
They have broken your doll, I know;
And your tea-set blue,
And your play-house, too,
Are things of the long ago;
...... Read complete »

   

New Poems

  1. leaving the dream ajar, Mandolyn ...
  2. Androids in my Dream, Rachel Nichols
  3. The Day Before Christmas 1968, Kyle Schlicher
  4. Tocaña, Nassy Fesharaki
  5. Haze your Dream, Antonio Liao
  6. With gun yielding, hasmukh amathalal
  7. Along with many, hasmukh amathalal
  8. No other culture, hasmukh amathalal
  9. A Splendor Beauty, Hanh Chau
  10. With all, hasmukh amathalal
[Hata Bildir]