poet Thom Gunn

Thom Gunn

For A Birthday

I have reached a time when words no longer
help:
Instead of guiding me across the moors
Strong landmarks in the uncertain out-of-doors,
Or like dependable friars on the Alp
Saving with wisdom and with brandy kegs,
They are gravel-stones, or tiny dogs which yelp
Biting my trousers, running round my legs.
Description and analysis degrade,
Limit, delay, slipped land from what has been;
And when we groan My Darling what we mean
Looked at more closely would too soon evade
The intellectual habit of our eyes;
And either the experience would fade
Or our approximations would be lies.
The snarling dogs are weight upon my haste,
Tons which I am detaching ounce by ounce.
All my agnostic irony I renounce
So I may climb to regions where I rest
In springs of speech, the dark before of truth:
The sweet moist wafer of your tongue I taste,
And find right meanings in your silent mouth.

Topic(s) of this poem: birthday

Poem Submitted: Wednesday, December 3, 2014

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Comments about For A Birthday by Thom Gunn

  • Dianne Aslett (7/24/2020 6:54:00 AM)

    I like this poem very much. For me it the announcement by the poet that he has come to recognize the words alone cannot encapture Truth. He is saying that words no longer satisfy his need to express his thoughts and feelings, but that he has come to the stage in his life where he simply wants to 'be', and let the truth of his experience speak for itself. He is appreciating the value of silence like the friars on the Alps.

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  • Paul AmrodPaul Amrod (6/16/2016 4:45:00 PM)

    A very engaging superlative rendition of passion and word choice. A genius of simplicity and suppleness. I have always admired this man's work, Greetings from down below, Paul

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  • Paul AmrodPaul Amrod (6/16/2016 4:41:00 PM)

    Yes a very engaging adventure through fantasy and possibility beautifully described with surprising images evoking sensual and passionate results. Very sophisticated and clear word choice. Marvelously interesting! Thanks for sharing and God bless!

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  • Charity NduhiuCharity Nduhiu (8/19/2015 11:11:00 PM)

    You have chosen your words well. Nice write

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