Thursday, March 1, 2007

A better example, re-revisited

To continue the theme of trumping my poetry with better examples by literary genii, I give you my favorite sonnet of all time, by John Donne. It also, coincidentally, had a central role in a minor film, which I believe was made for cable TV. The film, starring Emma Thompson, was called Wit and it was about a lit professor with cancer. The main character was a Donne specialist, so this particular poem was on her mind a lot during her slow, painful death.

DEATH be not proud, though some have called thee
Mighty and dreadfull, for, thou art not so,
For, those, whom thou think'st, thou dost overthrow,
Die not, poore death, nor yet canst thou kill me.
From rest and sleepe, which but thy pictures bee,
Much pleasure, then from thee, much more must flow,
And soonest our best men with thee doe goe,
Rest of their bones, and soules deliverie.
Thou art slave to Fate, Chance, kings, and desperate men,
And dost with poyson, warre, and sicknesse dwell,
And poppie, or charmes can make us sleepe as well,
And better then thy stroake; why swell'st thou then;
One short sleepe past, wee wake eternally,
And death shall be no more; death, thou shalt die.

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