Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Poetry Saved

For the first time in a long time, this morning I woke up actually wanting to read poetry. I found myself having to debate whether or not to save a collection by Thom Gunn from my "sell on Half Dot " pile. In the end? I decided "yes." Here's one of his poems I always liked, but seemed to really speak to me this morning.

The Man with Night Sweats

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.

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