Saturday, 7 April 2012

Thom Gunn (b.29/08/25 - 20/04/04 - Considering the Snail.

Thom Gunn, I like his stuff a lot, we share a birthday.
Borm in Britan, after moving to America, he became associated with San Francisco and the excesses of American bohemianism and all its primal urges. He wrote about violence and rebellion, love and decline, a life spent living on the edge, walking on the wild side. In his poems, as in his life he liked to take risks..... a life of studied abandon, he became known as a gay poet, who wrote in both traditional poetic forms and free verse, about the dispossessed, the marginalised where themes of love and lust interwined. Yet his themes also included the ordinary, the mundane,  and was particularly good when tackling the 'sniff of the real'. One of lifes bright things,  sadly departed, another one of those poets that I keep on returning to.
The following poem I find beautiful, delicate in its flow.

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
umagined the slow passion
to that deliberate progress.

Reprinted from
Collected Poems
Faber and Faber 1993

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