Tuesday, September 21, 2004

glamour and goodbye

In a few hours I'm off for six weeks to Europe, poking around the various corners of the Union for old disasters. Maybe I'll be partying with Eurotrash. Maybe I'll be scanning the roadside for the next exit out of Utrecht. Who knows? Here's something suitable for The Lotus to remember me by between today and Halloween:

A Valediction Forbidding Mourning

As virtuous men pass mildly away,
And whisper to their souls, to go,
Whilst some of their sad friends do say,
"The breath goes now," and some say, "No:"

So let us melt, and make no noise,
No tear-floods, nor sigh-tempests move;
'Twere profanation of our joys
To tell the laity our love.

Moving of th' earth brings harms and fears;
Men reckon what it did, and meant;
But trepidation of the spheres,
Though greater far, is innocent.

Dull sublunary lovers' love
(Whose soul is sense) cannot admit
Absence, because it doth remove
Those things which elemented it.

But we by a love so much refin'd,
That ourselves know not what it is,
Inter-assured of the mind,
Care less, eyes, lips, and hands to miss.

Our two souls therefore, which are one,
Though I must go, endure not yet
A breach, but an expansion,
Like gold to airy thinness beat.

If they be two, they are two so
As stiff twin compasses are two;
Thy soul, the fix'd foot, makes no show
To move, but doth, if the' other do.

And though it in the centre sit,
Yet when the other far doth roam,
It leans, and hearkens after it,
And grows erect, as that comes home.

Such wilt thou be to me, who must
Like th' other foot, obliquely run;
Thy firmness makes my circle just,
And makes me end, where I begun.


As I'm no poet, I had to ask John Donne to supply appropriate verse for my sentiments. Really. I had to travel backward in time to find him, accost him on his way to the pulpit, and persuade him to throw this poem together. When I got back to 2004 I found out that the poem had become a classic! Mind you, I must have done something wrong, because on my return I also found out that the present had gone from the Art Deco paradise I left to a totalitarian bloodbath, with colonial wars and genocide marking off the first half of the twentieth century, and the degradation of the entire world via the military-industrial complex that arose from a confluence of WWII-era interests shaping the second half. It appears that we now live on a kind of prison planet packed with the wretched, led by deluded tyrants who send people off to die in Mesopotamia in the hopes of pleasing invisible supermen in the sky. I must have altered the course of my lineage as well; it appears I'm now partly Irish and largely bald. Freaky stuff, that time travel. From now on I'm not going to go back in time to pester any more famous authors.

4 comments:

Friday said...

Have a good flight. If you meet an opera singer in Germany who likes to play Janga and eat "dipples," say hi to him for me. I'll plunder all your Angel in your absence. See you in October!

schmutzie said...

Well, if I didn't cry earlier at your leaving, I certainly did after reading that poem. Bastard.

luvabeans said...

does it bother you that john donne has a crush on your wife?

was that horribly insensitive?

palinode said...

If John Donne has a crush on my wife, it's entirely my fault. I showed him a few etchings of her exposing her ankles.