I wrote a couple of days ago about poetry and its power in communicating. I do love poetry in general, but certain poems stand out. And there is one that I love more than all others. I thought I’d share it with you today, though I suspect most are already familiar with it. It is John Donne’s “Death Be Not Proud.” Donne lived from 1572 to 1631 and was a prolific poet. He also coined a couple of immortal phrases that are in use today (“No man is an island” and “never send to know for whom the bell tolls; It tolls for thee.”) While his Holy Sonnets remain widely read, certainly none of his works are more popular or more beautiful than this, his masterpiece (as with most poetry, it is best read aloud):
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.