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This poem is taken from PN Review 40, Volume 11 Number 2, November - December 1984.

Three Poems Thom Gunn

TO A FRIEND IN TIME OF TROUBLE

You wake tired, in the cabin light has filled.
Then walk out to the deck you helped to build.
And pause, your senses reaching out anxiously,
Tentatively, toward scrub and giant tree:
A giving of the self instructed by
The dog who settles near you with a sigh
And seeks you in your movements, following each.
Though yours are different senses, they too reach
Until you know that they engage the air
The clean and penetrable medium where
You encounter as if they were a sort of home
Fountains of fern that jet from the coarse loam.

You listen for the quiet, but hear instead
A sudden run of cries break overhead,
And look to see a wide-winged bird of prey
...


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