Wednesday, April 11, 2018

J is for John Donne: Spiritual Matters

It's April! Time for the AtoZ Blogging Challenge!

For those who haven't played along before, the AtoZ Blogging Challenge asks bloggers to post every day during April (excepting Sundays), which works out to 26 days, one for each letter of the alphabet. In my opinion, it's the most fun if you choose a theme.

This will be my 5th year participating.
My theme this year is Poets I Love all about some of the poets whose work has touched me over the years.

For my regular readers, you'll see more than the usual once-a-week posts from me this month. I'm having a great time writing them, so I hope you enjoy reading them, too. Be sure to check out some of the other bloggers stretching their limits this month to share their passions with you, too. With over 400 participants, there is bound to be something you'd love to read.

If you ever took a British Literature survey course, as many high school students of the United States have, then you've probably read some John Donne. A deeply serious poet, concerned with matters of the spirit and of morality, he has the distinction of having written one of poetry's oft-quoted lines: Death be not Proud. It comes from one of his Holy Sonnets:

It's a poem I've taken comfort in, when mortality is knocking louder than usual on my peace of mind. I also deeply admire Meditation 17, which includes the immortal lines "No man is an island" and "ask not for whom the bell tolls, it tolls for thee." Meditation 17 is maybe not a traditional poem in structure, but in feel and sound, it certainly is poetic. 

But, what I love about Donne is the chance he gives me to contemplate G-d and spirituality, separated from politics and particular religions. He approaches these topics as an individual person, with passion and anger and seeking of peace. And in that, I find more connection than in the words of someone who no longer grapples with the big picture. 

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