Sad Poems: My Sad Captains - Poem by Thom Gunn

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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

  • Gold Star - 7,549 Points 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

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  • Rookie nicks (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 Already Reported Reply

    0 person liked.
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  • Gold Star - 437,759 Points Kumarmani Mahakul (12/16/2018 8:39:00 AM)

    Beautiful poem with touching expression. (Report) Reply

    0 person liked.
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  • Gold Star - 25,150 Points Parameswaran Nair Damodaran Nair (12/16/2018 7:11:00 AM)

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

    0 person liked.
    0 person did not like.
  • Gold Star - 702,214 Points Edward Kofi Louis (12/16/2018 3:03:00 AM)

    'One by one they appear'!

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

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  • Gold Star - 12,954 Points Adrian Flett (12/16/2018 2:47:00 AM)

    Stars, winnowed of failures. (Report) Reply

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  • Gold Star - 652,447 Points Bernard F. Asuncion (12/16/2018 1:10:00 AM)

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

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  • Rookie - 0 Points Kenneth Kaufman (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

    3 person liked.
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  • Rookie Nick Capozzoli (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

    4 person liked.
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Sad Poems
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  12. 12. In My Own Shire, If I Was Sad
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Sad Poems

  1. A Sad Child

    You're sad because you're sad. It's psychic. It's the age. It's chemical. Go see a shrink or take a pill, or hug your sadness like an eyeless doll you need to sleep. Well, all children are sad but some get over it. Count your blessings. Better than that, buy a hat. Buy a coat or pet. Take up dancing to forget. Forget what? Your sadness, your shadow, whatever it was that was done to you the day of the lawn party when you came inside flushed with the sun, your mouth sulky with sugar, in your new dress with the ribbon and the ice-cream smear, and said to yourself in the bathroom, I am not the favorite child. My darling, when it comes right down to it and the light fails and the fog rolls in and you're trapped in your overturned body under a blanket or burning car, and the red flame is seeping out of you and igniting the tarmac beside your head or else the floor, or else the pillow, none of us is; or else we all are.

  2. Be Not Sad

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  3. A Fairly Sad Tale

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  4. The Sad Mother

    Sleep, sleep, my beloved, without worry, without fear, although my soul does not sleep, although I do not rest. Sleep, sleep, and in the night may your whispers be softer than a leaf of grass, or the silken fleece of lambs. May my flesh slumber in you, my worry, my trembling. In you, may my eyes close and my heart sleep.

  5. ‘and Ask Ye Why These Sad Tears Stream?’

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