Thom Gunn

(29 August 1929 – 25 April 2004 / England)

My Sad Captains - Poem by Thom Gunn

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.


Submitted by Andrew Mayers


Comments about My Sad Captains by Thom Gunn

  • Christina Chin (12/16/2018 11:00:00 PM)


    How late they start to shine!
    but before they fade they stand
    perfectly...
    Beautiful
    (Report) Reply

    0 person liked.
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  • (12/16/2018 5:37:00 PM)


    Twelve months ago, after quitting my job, I was blessed to discover this awesome job opportunity on-line which saved me... They offer online home-based work. My latest check doing this job with them for 4 months was $10000... Great fact about the job is that the only requirement for the job is basic typing and internet access... - –] http: //xurl.es/2jqnk (Report) Reply

  • Kumarmani Mahakul (12/16/2018 8:39:00 AM)


    Beautiful poem with touching expression. (Report) Reply

  • Parameswaran Nair Damodaran Nair (12/16/2018 7:11:00 AM)


    A good poem that lingers in the mind after reading (Report) Reply

  • Edward Kofi Louis (12/16/2018 3:03:00 AM)


    'One by one they appear'!

    Thanks for sharing this poem with us.
    (Report) Reply

  • Adrian Flett (12/16/2018 2:47:00 AM)


    Stars, winnowed of failures. (Report) Reply

  • Bernard F. Asuncion (12/16/2018 1:10:00 AM)


    A marvelous write by Thom Gunn👍👍 (Report) Reply

  • (1/20/2017 8:02:00 PM)


    I wouldn't know about it standing up to Sappho, Nick, but I have to disagree that that the poem has much to do with friends; really more to do with those with who one sets as guides for one's own life, whether friends or no. Life goes on; you live it, you move far from those early guides, so far that they may now seem as cold and distant as stars.... and have you been back to DS lately? (Report) Reply

  • (4/18/2009 10:30:00 PM)


    This 'little' poem has a classical lyrical ethos and brilliance...it stands up to Sappho. The subject, Gunn's recollection of his friends, could easily have lapsed into sentimentality, just as could have Sappho's. Instead, he puts them into an apallingly cold hard orbit in the classical cosmos. (Report) Reply

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Read poems about / on: sad, star, friend



Poem Submitted: Monday, January 13, 2003



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