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On The Move 'Man, You Gotta Go.'

Thom Gunn

The blue jay scuffling in the bushes follows 
Some hidden purpose, and the gush of birds 
That spurts across the field, the wheeling swallows, 
Have nested in the trees and undergrowth. 
Seeking their instinct, or their pose, or both, 
One moves with an uncertain violence 
Under the dust thrown by a baffled sense 
Or the dull thunder of approximate words. 

On motorcycles, up the road, they come: 
Small, black, as flies hanging in heat, the Boy, 
Until the distance throws them forth, their hum 
Bulges to thunder held by calf and thigh. 
In goggles, donned impersonality, 
In gleaming jackets trophied with the dust, 
They strap in doubt--by hiding it, robust-- 
And almost hear a meaning in their noise. 

Exact conclusion of their hardiness 
Has no shape yet, but from known whereabouts 
They ride, directions where the tires press. 
They scare a flight of birds across the field: 
Much that is natural, to the will must yield. 
Men manufacture both machine and soul, 
And use what they imperfectly control 
To dare a future from the taken routes. 

It is part solution, after all. 
One is not necessarily discord 
On Earth; or damned because, half animal, 
One lacks direct instinct, because one wakes 
Afloat on movement that divides and breaks. 
One joins the movement in a valueless world, 
Crossing it, till, both hurler and the hurled, 
One moves as well, always toward, toward.
A minute holds them, who have come to go: 
The self-denied, astride the created will. 
They burst away; the towns they travel through 
Are home for neither birds nor holiness, 
For birds and saints complete their purposes. 
At worse, one is in motion; and at best, 
Reaching no absolute, in which to rest, 
One is always nearer by not keeping still. 

Submitted by Andrew Mayers

Added: 21 Jul 2002 | Last Read: 22 Jan 2019 1:37 AM | Viewed: 17040 times

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URL: http://plagiarist.com/poetry/5614/ | Viewed on 22 January 2019.
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