Oct. 18, 2004: To Mr. T.W. (John Donne)

Dear Readers,

Is it true what Yeats said of John Donne: that "the intricacy and subtlety
of his imagination are the length and depth of the furrow made by his
passion"? And if it’s true, does it make any sense at all? No matter; one
could be forgiven a little eccentric obscurantism when writing of Donne.

We all remember how Donne was born in 1572, his secret marriage, his
graduate degrees in law and divinity, his role as Dean of St. Paul’s. But
did we know that he is also the favorite poet of one Tammy Beams? And did
we know that Tammy Beams is celebrating her [CENSORED] birthday tomorrow?
So, since I am a bad friend and didn’t get her a present, I dedicate this
week’s reading to her. And I ask her, what the hell with that bizarre last
couplet? Simple sonnet here, although AAA BBB CCC DDD EE form, which I’ve
not seen before, and I was following his "conceit" just fine until he
compared his friend’s love to a glutton. So, Tammy, what’s the scoop on
that one? Oh, and since Tammy hasn’t responded to any poem in over a year,
I’m gonna throw that question open to anyone else, too!

-ed.

To Mr. T.W.

Pregnant again with th’ old twins hope, and fear,
Oft have I asked for thee, both how and where
Thou wert, and what my hopes of letters were;

As in the streets sly beggars narrowly
Watch motions of the giver’s hand and eye,
And evermore conceive some hope thereby.

And now thy alms is given, thy letter is read,
The body risen again, the which was dead,
And thy poor starveling bountifully fed.

After this banquet my soul doth say grace
And praise thee for it, and zealously embrace
Thy love, though I think thy love in this case
To be as gluttons, which say ‘midst their meat
They love that best of which they most do eat.

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