You go from me
In June for months on end
To study equanimity
Among high trees alone;
I go out with a new boyfriend
And stay all summer in the city where
Home mostly on my own
I watch the sunflowers flare.

You travel East
To help your relatives.
The rainy season's start, at least,
Brings you from banishment:
And from the hall a doorway gives
A glimpse of you, writing I don't know what,
Through winter, with head bent
In the lamp's yellow spot.

To some fresh task
Some improvising skill
Your face is turned, of which I ask
Nothing except the presence:
Beneath white hair your clear eyes still
Are candid as the cat's fixed narrowing gaze
—Its pale-blue incandescence
In your room nowadays.

Sociable cat:
Without much noise or fuss
We left the kitchen where he sat,
And suddenly we find
He happens still to be with us,
In this room now, though firmly faced away,
Not to be left behind,
Though all the night he'll stray.

As you began
You'll end the year with me.
We'll hug each other while we can,
Work or stray while we must.
Nothing is, or will ever be,
Mine, I suppose. No one can hold a heart,
But what we hold in trust
We do hold, even apart.


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

Isaac Rosenberg was an English poet of the First World War who was considered to be one of the greatest of all English war poets. His "Poems from the Trenches" are recognised as some of the most outstanding written during the First World War.

Isaac Rosenberg was born to Barnet...
Read more...

Poem of the day


Who will away to Athens with me? Who
Loves choral songs and maidens crown'd with flowers,
Unenvious? mount the pinnace; hoist the sail.
I promise ye, as many as are here,
Ye shall not, while ye tarry with me, taste
From unrinsed barrel the diluted...
Read more...