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Thom Gunn

poetry final project

kyle crist

on 30 April 2010

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Transcript of Thom Gunn

THOM GUNN TENNYSON VS Tears, Idle, Tears The Man with Night Sweats Tears, idle tears, I know not what they mean,
Tears from the depth of some divine despair
Rise in the heart, and gather in the eyes,
In looking on the happy autumn-fields,
And thinking of the days that are no more.

Fresh as the first beam glittering on a sail,
That brings our friends up from the underworld,
Sad as the last which reddens over one
That sinks with all we love below the verge;
So sad, so fresh, the days that are no more.

Ah, sad and strange as in dark summer dawns
The earliest pipe of half-awakened birds
To dying ears, when unto dying eyes
The casement slowly grows a glimmering square;
So sad, so strange, the days that are no more.

Dear as remembered kisses after death,
And sweet as those by hopeless fancy feigned
On lips that are for others; deep as love,
Deep as first love, and wild with all regret;
O Death in Life, the days that are no more Passage Gunn Tennyson Imagine the face
Of the man being stolen:
Pale emotionless, blank stare

But he remembers
His youth and past

And is reassured
That his life was
Success and lived

And accepts the processing
Lying in bed with little regret
I wake up cold, I who
Prospered through dreams of heat
Wake to their residue,
Sweat, and a clinging sheet.

My flesh was its own shield:
Where it was gashed, it healed.

I grew as I explored
The body I could trust
Even while I adored
The risk that made robust,

A world of wonders in
Each challenge to the skin.

I cannot but be sorry
The given shield was cracked,
My mind reduced to hurry,
My flesh reduced and wrecked.

I have to change the bed,
But catch myself instead

Stopped upright where I am
Hugging my body to me
As if to shield it from
The pains that will go through me,

As if hands were enough
To hold an avalanche off.
Backround Born August 29, 1929
Died April 4, 2004

Birthplace: England

Later life: moved to San Francisco
While there he became openly gay
lived a Bohemian lifestyle

His homosexuality influenced his poetry
Many of his later poems:
Written in memorial to friends that died of AIDS
Example: "The Man with Night Sweats"
Themes of death and "plague"

Many of his poems were written while on LSD

Rhyme Scheme: ABAB Rhyme Scheme: same ending to stanzas "the days that are no more" Theme: death, suffering waking up (epiphany) about a man suffering from AIDS more of a happy/optimistic tone Rhyming seems to make an easier read in turn - lessens the depressing impact of death theme Gunn's views and his way of life
strongly influences his poetry Waking up: man wakes
up with the night sweats waking up: morning feel to the poem regret Gunn
regret in the character's
"promiscuous" ways in
early adulthood Tennyson
more general feeling of regret.
regret in that the days that
have passed are irreclaimable "brings our friends up from
the underworld"
ackknowledgement of friends
who have previously passed
away (many of Gunn's poems
are memorials to his friends
who have died) sad feel to both poems:
- these "days are no more"
- the poem describes the man's suffering
} both characters are on their deathbed
Full transcript