Submit a Poem
Get Your Premium Membership
spacer

Best Famous Thom Gunn Poems


Here is a collection of the all-time best famous Thom Gunn poems. This is a select list of the best famous Thom Gunn poetry. Reading, writing, and enjoying famous Thom Gunn poetry (as well as classical and contemporary poems) is a great past time. These top poems are the best examples of thom gunn poems.

Search for the best famous Thom Gunn poems, articles about Thom Gunn poems, poetry blogs, or anything else Thom Gunn poem related using the PoetrySoup search engine at the top of the page.

See also: Best Member Poems

Go Back




by Thom Gunn |

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
has darkened the earth's dark. He
moves in a wood of desire,

pale antlers barely stirring
as he hunts. I cannot tell
what power is at work, drenched there 
with purpose, knowing nothing.
What is a snail's fury? All 
I think is that if later

I parted the blades above
the tunnel and saw the thin
trail of broken white across
litter, I would never have 
imagined the slow passion
to that deliberate progress.


by Thom Gunn |

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 impersonality, 
In gleaming jackets trophied with the dust, 
They strap in doubt--by hiding it, robust-- 
And almost hear a meaning in their noise. 

Exact conclusion of their hardiness 
Has no shape yet, but from known whereabouts 
They ride, directions where the tires press. 
They scare a flight of birds across the field: 
Much that is natural, to the will must yield. 
Men manufacture both machine and soul, 
And use what they imperfectly control 
To dare a future from the taken routes. 

It is part solution, after all. 
One is not necessarily discord 
On Earth; or damned because, half animal, 
One lacks direct instinct, because one wakes 
Afloat on movement that divides and breaks. 
One joins the movement in a valueless world, 
Crossing it, till, both hurler and the hurled, 
One moves as well, always toward, toward.

A minute holds them, who have come to go: 
The self-denied, astride the created will. 
They burst away; the towns they travel through 
Are home for neither birds nor holiness, 
For birds and saints complete their purposes. 
At worse, one is in motion; and at best, 
Reaching no absolute, in which to rest, 
One is always nearer by not keeping still.


by Thom Gunn |

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!
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 Barry Tebb |

IN HARM’S WAY

 I was never a film buff, give me Widmark and Wayne any day

Saturday matin?es with Margaret Gardener still hold sway

As my memory veers backwards this temperate Boxing Day-

Westerns and war films and a blurred Maigret,

Coupled with a worn-out sixties Penguin Mallarm?-

How about that mix for a character trait?

Try as I may I can’t get my head round the manifold virtues

Of Geraldine Monk or either Riley

Poetry has to have a meaning, not just patterns on a page,

Vertical words and snips of scores just make me rage.

Is Thom Gunn really the age-old sleaze-weasel Andrew Duncan says?

Is Tim Allen right to give Geraldine Monk an eleven page review?

At least they care for poetry to give their lives to it

As we do, too.

My syntax far from perfect, my writing illegible

But somehow I’ll get through, Bloodaxe and Carcourt 

May jeer but an Indian printer’s busy with my ‘Collected’

And, Calcutta typesetters permitting, it will be out this year

With the red gold script of sari cloth on the spine

And fuck those dusty grey contemporary voices

Those verses will be mine.

Haslam’s a whole lot better but touchy as a prima donna

And couldn’t take it when I said he’d be a whole lot better

If he’d unloose his affects and let them scatter

I’m envious of his habitat, The Haworth Moors

Living there should be the inspiration of my old age

But being monophobic I can’t face the isolation

Or persuade my passionate friend to join me.

What urban experiences can improve

Upon a cottage life with my own muse!