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.

I notice, looking down the hill,
Arms braced upon a window sill;
And on the web of fire escapes
Move the potential, the grey shapes.

I hold the city here, complete;
And every shape defined by light
Is mine, or corresponds to mine,
Some flickering or some steady shine.

This map is ground of my delight.
Between the limits, night by night,
I watch a malady's advance,
I recognize my love of chance.

By the recurrent lights I see
Endless potentiality,
The crowded, broken, and unfinished!
I would not have the risk diminished.


About 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. Read more...

Poet of the day

Jessie Pope was an English poet, writer and journalist, who remains best known for her patriotic motivational poems published during World War I. Wilfred OwenSiegfried Sassoon has grown.

Early Career

Born in Leicester, she was educated at North London Collegiate School. She was a regular contributor to Punch, The Daily...
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Poem of the day


Pour tous ― elle excepté ― ma vie a son mystère :
Un amour éternel depuis longtemps conçu.
Mon cœur en débordait ; pourtant j'ai dû le taire :
Nul profane ici-bas n'en a jamais rien su.

À distance je vis, discret, inaperçu ;
On me...
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