Thom Gunn Double Portrait

Thom Gunn – Double Portrait, Single Channel Video, 2004.

One of the last public readings by Thom Gunn before his death in April 2004.
Preview Not Available.

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.