Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Touch - T. Gunn

I was going to introduce Gunn with the poem that first made me notice him, but this one is "softer" without diminishing a show of his talent.  He transplanted from England, where he was born and studied, to San Francisco where he has lived an openly gay adult life, teaching and writing.  I prefer poets (and artists who demonstrate a command of the craft and traditional forms of their medium before "experimenting".  Gunn has done that in spades, as will be seen in his other poems that will be posted.  His bio - click his name below - is worth reading.  (Photo - 1971)


You are already
asleep.  I lower
myself in next to
you, my skin slightly
numb with the restraint
of habits, the patina of
self, the black frost
of outsideness, so that even
unclothed it is
a resilient chilly
hardness, a superficially
malleable, dead
rubbery texture.

You are  a mound
of bedclothes, where the cat
in sleep braces
its paws against your
calf through the blankets,
and kneads each paw in turn.

Meanwhile and slowly
I feel a is it
my own warmth surfacing or
the ferment of your whole
body that in darkness beneath
the cover is stealing
bit by bit to break
down that chill.

                                 You turn and
hold me tightly, do
you know who
I am or am I
your mother or
the nearest human being to
hold on to in a
dreamed pogrom.

What I, now loosened,
sink into is an old
big place, it is
there already, for
you are already
there, and the cat
got there before you, yet
it is hard to locate.
What is more, the place is
not found but seeps
from our touch in
continuous creation, dark
enclosing cocoon round
ourselves alone, dark
wide realm where we
walk with everyone.

Thom Gunn - English/American

No comments: