The man with night sweats by thom gunn is atragic and heart rending poem. It portrays the image of a man suffering from AIDS, a terminal disease. The poem describes both the physical and emotional state of the sufferer.
The poem is tightly organized with a rhyme scheme of ABA BCC DE DE FF GHG HIIJ KLL. This rare rhyme scheme reflects desperation and helplessness as a half rhyme is introduced in the third quatrain.
Although, the persona narrates his physical condition, he subtly tries to reveal his mental state through his physical wounds. “my flesh was its own shield”.Here the the persona describes how his skin which was a cover before is unable to heal itself.His body holds him as aprisoner till death.
The sufferer feels poerless over his own body. He is fearful of death and aware of his terminal condition.
It is sad to notice how alone he is in the world.He is unable to share his misery and pain with some one else.He faces his fears alone , awaiting death
His sickness is like an avalanche, a destruction. it is impossible for him to stay positive about it and look at the bright side.death is inevitable for the sufferer and his ordeal is too painful.
“I wake up cold, I who
Prospered throygh dreams of heat
Wake to their residue,
Sweat, and a clinging sheet.
My flesh was its own sheild;where it was gashed, it healed.
the poem has a warning for the readers .