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Memory Unsettled

by Thom Gunn

Your pain still hangs in air,
Sharp motes of it suspended;
The voice of your despair —
That also is not ended:

When near your death a friend
Asked you what he could do,
‘Remember me,’ you said.
We will remember you.

Once when you went to see
Another with a fever
In a like hospital bed,
With terrible hothouse cough
And terrible hothouse shiver
That soaked him and then dried him,
And you perceived that he
Had to be comforted,

You climbed in there beside him
And hugged him plain in view,
Though you were sick enough,
And had your own fears too.


Thom Gunn’s most recent book of poetry was The Passages of Joy (1982). His next will be The Man with Night Sweats. (1992)

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