In honor of John Donne

Donne is a saint in the Anglican tradition, not a Sanctus of Antinous, but he is always going to be a revered ancestor for me. I was introduced to his poetry when I was fourteen and a precocious early college student, and his blend of wit, eroticism, spirituality, and angst made perfect sense to me even then. Today is the date of his death, so I’m going to share one of my favorite of his poems, one of the Holy Sonnets.

Batter my heart, three-person’d God, for you
As yet but knock, breathe, shine, and seek to mend;
That I may rise and stand, o’erthrow me, and bend
Your force to break, blow, burn, and make me new.
I, like an usurp’d town to another due,
Labor to admit you, but oh, to no end;
Reason, your viceroy in me, me should defend,
But is captiv’d, and proves weak or untrue.
Yet dearly I love you, and would be lov’d fain,
But am betroth’d unto your enemy;
Divorce me, untie or break that knot again,
Take me to you, imprison me, for I,
Except you enthrall me, never shall be free,
Nor ever chaste, except you ravish me.
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