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My Sad Captains

 One by one they appear in
the darkness: a few friends, and
a few with historical 
How late they start to shine! but before they fade they stand perfectly embodied, all the past lapping them like a cloak of chaos.
They were men who, I thought, lived only to renew the wasteful force they spent with each hot convulsion.
They remind me, distant now.
True, they are not at rest yet, but now they are indeed apart, winnowed from failures, they withdraw to an orbit and turn with disinterested hard energy, like the stars.

by Thom Gunn
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