Thursday, 16 October 2008

The collar

We  talked briefly today about loving poetry. This poem did not come up, but I do not have John Donne with me here, and this is my very best second.

I love this poem on many levels. Most simply perhaps because I associate myself with the idea: My lines and life are free: free as the road, loose as the wind, as large as store. But, as the poet so carefully suggests this is a human paradox. Ultimately, perhaps it is an illusion. Whatever the religious context of this poem, I find that it is a spring board for many other thoughts, and for this reason alone, it amuses the more bizzare thought processes of my mind!

I struck the board, and cried, 'No more.
I will abroad.
What? Shall I ever sigh and pine?
My lines and life are free; free as the road,
Loose as the wind, as large as store.
Shall I still be in suit?
Have I no harvest but a thorn
To let me blood and not restore
What I have lost with cordial fruit?
Sure there was wine
Before my sighs did dry it: there was corn,
Before my tears did drown it.
Is the year only lost to me?
Have I no bays to crown it?
No flowers, no garlands gay? all blasted?
All wasted?
Not so, my heart: but there is fruit,
And thou hast hands.
Recover all thy sigh blown age
On double pleasures: leave thy cold dispute
of what is fit, and not. Forsake thy cage,
Thy rope of sands,
Which pretty thoughts have made, and made to thee
good cable, to enforce and draw,
And be thy law,
While thou didst wink and would not see.
Awake: take heed,
I will abroad.
Call in thy Death's head there: tie up thy fears.
He that forbears
To suit and serve his need,
Deserves his load.
But as I raved and grew more fierce and wild
At every word,
Me thoughts I heard one calling, Child:
And I replied, My Lord.

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