Monday, January 27, 2020

Elegy by Thom Gunn


I can almost see it
Thin, tall, half-handsome
the thin hungry sweetness
of his smile gone
as he makes up his mind
and walks behind the barn
in his thin pointed boots
over the crackling eucalyptus leaves
and shoots himself in the head

Even the terror
of leaving life like that
better than the terror
of being unable to handle it

Though I hardly knew him
I rehearse it again and again
Did he smell eucalyptus last?
No it was his own blood
as he choked on it

They keep leaving me
and they don’t
tell me they don’t
warn me that this is
the last time I’ll be seeing them

as they drop away
like Danny or
slowly estrange themselves

There will be no turn of the river
where we are all reunited
in a wonderful party
the picnic spread
all the lost found
as in hide and seek

An odd comfort
that the way we are always
most in agreement
is in playing the same game
where everyone always gets lost

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