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This poem is taken from PN Review 70, Volume 16 Number 2, November - December 1989.

For Thom Gunn's Birthday Michael Vince

Living in Gravesend once and knowing that you
Were born there, I began to ask around
Prompting old men with drinks for what they knew,
Searching to meet you on familiar ground.

"Young Thom," they'd laugh, "he was a lively one,
He had a sense of movement you might say.
The bonus was his boisterous sense of fun.
We've seen him in the moonlight run away

And drop on bleeding paws. His motorbike,
He drove it in the ground, or so he said.
And wasn't he the one who caught that pike
Up in the monastery, or was that Ted?

He was a lad all right. He liked to dance
Down at the palais. He'd wander off all night,
Wouldn't he Lofty, in a kind of trance.
Poetry though - that doesn't sound quite right.

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