Monday, January 02, 2006

Batter My Heart

Over break, I've been picking up some of my old poetry books and paging through them again. Poetry is such a powerful medium of communication. The fragmentary or condensed imagery clings to the corners of my mind and always brings back fond memories when favorite or forgotten poems are revisited. Musical lyrics hold the same attachment for me; often, I like vocal music as much for its poesy as for its melody. Many of you have probably read the following poem before; if you're a lit. major, you probably have half of it memorized. I rediscovered it again yesterday, and it very much sums up my prayer over this break. I love the imagery and the resolution of the tone. Anyhow, I copied it here as another scrap pulled out into the light from under the basket . . .

Batter my heart, three-person'd God, for you
As yet but knock, breathe, shine, and seek to mend;
That I may rise and stand, o'erthrow me, and bend
Your force to break, blow, burn, and make me new.
I, like an usurp'd town to'another due,
Labor to'admit you, but oh, to no end;
Reason, your viceroy in me, me should defend,
But is captiv'd, and proves weak or untrue.
Yet dearly'I love you, and would be lov'd fain,
But am betroth'd unto your enemy;
Divorce me,'untie or break that knot again,
Take me to you, imprison me, for I,
Except you'enthrall me, never shall be free,
Nor ever chaste, except you ravish me.

by John Donne


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