Thom Gunn on empathy

Save the word
empathy, sweetheart,
for your freshman essays.
Doesn’t it make
A rather large claim?
Think you can
syphon yourself
into another human
as, in the movie,
the lively boy-ghosts
pour themselves
down the ear-holes
of pompous older men?
Don’t try it. Only
Jesus could do it and he
probably didn’t exist.
Try `sympathy.’ With that
your isolated self may
split a cloak with a beggar,
slip a pillow under the head
of the arrested man, hold tight
the snag-toothed hustler with red hair.


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