National Poetry Day

Labour Party

JohnDonneToday is National Poetry Day.  In a poll of favourite poets commissioned to mark the event, the sixteenth century metaphysical poet John Donne came second after T S Eliot.

 I have decided to bare my soul and tell the world that Donne has always been my number one.  (Honestly – I’m not Co-ordinator on the Culture Committee for nothing).  Here is one of his best.


The Sun Rising
 by John Donne

Busy old fool, unruly Sun,
Why dost thou thus,
Through windows, and through curtains, call on us?
Must to thy motions lovers’ seasons run?
Saucy pedantic wretch, go chide
Late schoolboys, and sour prentices,
Go tell court-huntsmen that the king will ride,
Call country ants to harvest offices,
Love, all alike, no season knows, nor clime,
Nor hours, days, months, which are the rags of time. 
Thy beams, so reverend and strong
Why shouldst thou think?
I could eclipse and cloud them with a wink,
But that I would not lose her sight so long:
If her eyes have not blinded thine,
Look, and tomorrow late, tell me
Whether both the’Indias of spice and mine
Be where thou leftst them, or lie here with me.
Ask for those kings whom thou saw’st yesterday,
And thou shalt hear: “All here in one bed lay.”

She’is all states, and all princes I,
Nothing else is.
Princes do but play us; compar’d to this,
All honour’s mimic, all wealth alchemy.
Thou, sun, art half as happy’as we,
In that the world’s contracted thus;
Thine age asks ease, and since thy duties be
To warm the world, that’s done in warming us.
Shine here to us, and thou art everywhere;
This bed thy centre is, these walls, thy sphere.

One thought on “National Poetry Day

  1. One for the feminists–

    HE that cannot choose but love,
    And strives against it still,
    Never shall my fancy move,
    For he loves against his will ;
    Nor he which is all his own,
    And cannot pleasure choose ;
    When I am caught he can be gone,
    And when he list refuse ;
    Nor he that loves none but fair,
    For such by all are sought ;
    Nor he that can for foul ones care,
    For his judgement then is nought ;
    Nor he that hath wit, for he
    Will make me his jest or slave ;
    Nor a fool when others —
    He can neither —
    Nor he that still his mistress prays,
    For she is thrall’d therefore ;
    Nor he that pays, not, for he says
    Within, she’s worth no more.
    Is there then no kind of men
    Whom I may freely prove?
    I will vent that humour then
    In mine own self-love.

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