Wednesday, April 7, 2010

In Case You Don't Know This,

April is National Poetry Month.

I majored in English in college, which means I spent a good chunk of my late teens and early twenties reading, analyzing, and writing poetry -- everything from thousand-year-old Japanese haiku to postmodern poetry written by unreliable authorial personas.  

I can't even remember in which class we studied John Donne, but I remember being absolutely amazed and moved to tears by everything of his that I read, and that's true to this day.  Every one of his poems that I discover or re-discover stuns me.  I forget sometimes just how much I love him.

The best thing about Donne is that someday I'll get to meet him.  I wonder if he'll be as cheeky as I imagine him to be?

Anyway, Donne's Holy Sonnets are probably some of the best bits of Christian poetry ever to be written down outside the Scriptures.  Go read them, slowly and out loud. And then read this, also slowly and out loud, the fifth poem in Donne's La Corona cycle:

By miracles exceeding power of man,
He faith in some, envy in some begat, 
For, what weak spirits admire, ambitious hate : 
In both affections many to Him ran. 
But O ! the worst are most, they will and can, 
Alas ! and do, unto th' Immaculate, 
Whose creature Fate is, now prescribe a fate, 
Measuring self-life's infinity to span, 
Nay to an inch.   Lo ! where condemned He 
Bears His own cross, with pain, yet by and by 
When it bears him, He must bear more and die. 
Now Thou art lifted up, draw me to Thee, 
And at Thy death giving such liberal dole, 
Moist with one drop of Thy blood my dry soul.

No comments: