an Anglo-American poet who was praised both for his early verses in England, where he was associated with The Movement and his later poetry in America, even after moving toward a looser, free-verse style. After relocating from England to San Francisco, Gunn, who became openly gay, wrote about gay-related topics — particularly in his most famous work, The Man With Night Sweats in 1992 — as well as drug use, sex, and topics related to his bohemian lifestyle. He won numerous major literary awards. more »
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Thom Gunn Poems
On The Move 'Man, You Gotta Go.'
The blue jay scuffling in the bushes follows Some hidden purpose, and the gush of birds That spurts across the field, the wheeling swallows, Have nested in the trees and undergrowth.
I am too young to grow a beard But yes man it was me you heard In dirty denim and dark glasses. I look through everyone who passes
It was your birthday, we had drunk and dined Half of the night with our old friend Who'd showed us in the end To a bed I reached in one drunk stride.
The Man with Night Sweats
I wake up cold, I who Prospered through dreams of heat Wake to their residue, Sweat, and a clinging sheet.
Considering the Snail
The snail pushes through a green night, for the grass is heavy with water and meets over the bright path he makes, where rain
I shall not soon forget The greyish-yellow skin To which the face had set: Lids tights: nothing of his,
My Sad Captains
One by one they appear in the darkness: a few friends, and a few with historical names. How late they start to shine!
Cats met us at the landing-place reclining in the sun to check us in
He died, and I admired the crisp vehemence of a lifetime reduced to half a foot of shelf space.
The Butcher's Son
Mr Pierce the butcher Got news his son was missing About a month before The closing of the war.
Painting by Vuillard
Two dumpy women with buns were drinking coffee In a narrow kitchen—at least I think a kitchen And I think it was whitewashed, in spite of all the shade. They were flat brown, they were as brown as coffee.
In the silence that prolongs the span Rawly of music when the record ends, The red-haired boy who drove a van In weekday overalls but, like his friends,
A Map of the City
I stand upon a hill and see A luminous country under me, Through which at two the drunk sailor must weave; The transient's pause, the sailor's leave.
To Yvor Winters
Though night is always close, complete negation Ready to drop on wisdom and emotion, Night from the air or the carnivorous breath, Still it is right to know the force of death,
Comments about Thom Gunn
(4 April 1928 - 28 May 2014)
(March 26, 1874 – January 29, 1963)
(26 April 1564 - 23 April 1616)
(10 December 1830 – 15 May 1886)
(12 July 1904 – 23 September 1973)
(1 February 1902 – 22 May 1967)
Edgar Allan Poe
(19 January 1809 - 7 October 1849)
(31 May 1819 - 26 March 1892)
(31 October 1795 – 23 February 1821)
On The Move 'Man, You Gotta Go.'
The blue jay scuffling in the bushes follows
Some hidden purpose, and the gush of birds
That spurts across the field, the wheeling swallows,
Have nested in the trees and undergrowth.
Seeking their instinct, or their pose, or both,
One moves with an uncertain violence
Under the dust thrown by a baffled sense
Or the dull thunder of approximate words.
On motorcycles, up the road, they come:
Small, black, as flies hanging in heat, the Boy,
Until the distance throws them forth, their hum
Bulges to thunder held by calf and thigh.
In goggles, donned...