Tamer and Hawk

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.


About the Author

The author who wrote Tamer and Hawk is Thom Gunn and he was born in 1929 and passed away in 2004. He was born in England but moved to the U.S. in 1954 and he was embraced in american culture. He is an author of over 30 books and poems. He won the Lenore Marshall Poetry Prize with the poem The Man With The Night Sweats.


Theme of the poem

The theme of the poem is about having a love that you don't want to lose. The love is forever tamed.

Key lines

That when I go I go at your command- This is saying that he is already losing his freedom.

Through having only eyes for you I fear to lose- Means that they are falling in love and won't lose each other.