Tamer and Hawk

By Thom Gunn 1929–2004 Thom Gunn
I thought I was so tough,
But gentled at your hands,
Cannot be quick enough
To fly for you and show
That when I go I go
At your commands.

Even in flight above
I am no longer free:
You seeled me with your love,
I am blind to other birds—
The habit of your words
Has hooded me.

As formerly, I wheel
I hover and I twist,
But only want the feel,
In my possessive thought,
Of catcher and of caught
Upon your wrist.

You but half civilize,
Taming me in this way.
Through having only eyes
For you I fear to lose,
I lose to keep, and choose
Tamer as prey.

Thom Gunn, "Tamer and Hawk" from Collected Poems. Copyright © 1995 by Thom Gunn.  Reprinted by permission of Farrar, Straus and Giroux.

Source: Selected Poems 1950-1975 (Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 1979)

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Poet Thom Gunn 1929–2004

POET’S REGION England

Subjects Living, Marriage & Companionship, Love, Classic Love, Desire, Romantic Love, Nature, Animals

Occasions Anniversary, Engagement

Holidays Valentine's Day

Poetic Terms Alliteration, Assonance, Imagery, Metaphor

 Thom  Gunn

Biography

Thom Gunn was born in Kent, England to parents who were both journalists. Gunn’s early life was peripatetic; after his parents’ divorce, he traveled with his father to various assignments and attended a number of different schools. His mother committed suicide when Gunn was fifteen. In an interview with the Paris Review Gunn spoke about the effect of his mother’s death: “I was devastated for about four years. I very much retired . . .

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Poem Categorization

SUBJECT Living, Marriage & Companionship, Love, Classic Love, Desire, Romantic Love, Nature, Animals

POET’S REGION England

Poetic Terms Alliteration, Assonance, Imagery, Metaphor

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Originally appeared in Poetry magazine.

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