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Thom Gunn
Thom Gunn
The author of many collections of poetry, Thom Gunn's The Man with Night Sweats is a collection of poetry memorializing his friends and loved ones who had fallen victim to AIDS...
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The Man with Night Sweats

 
by Thom Gunn

I wake up cold, I who
Prospered through dreams of heat 
Wake to their residue, 
Sweat, and a clinging sheet. 

My flesh was its own shield: 
Where it was gashed, it healed.

I grew as I explored 
The body I could trust 
Even while I adored
The risk that made robust,

A world of wonders in
Each challenge to the skin.

I cannot but be sorry
The given shield was cracked,
My mind reduced to hurry, 
My flesh reduced and wrecked.

I have to change the bed, 
But catch myself instead

Stopped upright where I am 
Hugging my body to me 
As if to shield it from 
The pains that will go through me,
      
As if hands were enough 
To hold an avalanche off.






From Collected Poems by Thom Gunn. Copyright © 1994 by Thom Gunn.
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