Biography of Thom Gunn
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.
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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
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.
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.
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
Cats met us at the landing-place reclining in the sun to check us in
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!
I shall not soon forget The greyish-yellow skin To which the face had set: Lids tights: nothing of his,
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.
The Butcher's Son
Mr Pierce the butcher Got news his son was missing About a month before The closing of the war.
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,
He died, and I admired the crisp vehemence of a lifetime reduced to half a foot of shelf space.
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.
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