Tuesday, July 28, 2009

John Donne's Prayer

I wrote a piece called Why we need the Poets on the Sydney Anglican Website. I'm not sure if it cut the mustard re hits. As my friend Craig once said of one of his pieces:
It [my Blog post] landed with a bit of dull thud. Listen, listen - phhd. That was it. A shame, because I thought I was making a profound point.
I'm hearing you, brother Craig. But today, I'm dipping into Romans 6-8 at the York Street Forum. We are talking about How People Change.

I have never read a prayer that so captured my desire to change than this classic from John Donne:
BATTER my heart, three person'd God; for, you
As yet but knocke, breathe, shine, and seeke to mend;
That I may rise, and stand, o'erthrow mee,'and bend
Your force, to breake, blowe, burn and make me new.
I, like an usurpt towne, to'another due,
Labour to'admit you, but Oh, to no end,
Reason your viceroy in mee, mee should defend,
But is captiv'd, and proves weake or untrue.
Yet dearely'I love you,'and would be loved faine,
But am betroth'd unto your enemie:
Divorce mee,'untie, or breake that knot againe;
Take mee to you, imprison mee, for I
Except you'enthrall mee, never shall be free,
Nor ever chast, except you ravish mee.
We need the Poets.



Matthew Moffitt said...

Nice. Thanks.

onlinesoph said...

I studied this poem for the HSC back in 2000 (so did my husband), and thank God I had to memorise it because I still pull it out now and then to mull over.

It's a terrific poem. Yes, we need the poets!

Ali said...

I heard you - and I listened! :)

The poets might always be a minority, but still a needed (and a needy) minority ...

Anonymous said...

"Nor ever chast, except you ravish mee"

Yes! THAT is why we need the poets. Who else could come up with such a luscious, stirring image??

Julia said...

I did this one for the HSC in 98...it's one of my favourite poems of all time!!! we really really need the poets...they capture realities better than the rest of us...and their work outlasts them...