Since you brought it up-John Donne Rocks!

Carpe Diem and Rock and Roll!

Eric Olsen had reason to metion John Donne while talking about the Rolling Stones, the Spirit of Rock’n’Roll and Living Life fully to the end.

I am a fan of John Donne, so I thought I would take up the thread and say a little more on the subject.

Remember the Movie, Dead Poets Society? I can’t remember exactly, but the super-cool English teacher teaches the boys the meaning of Carpe Diem-Sieze the Day! He says it was the poets anthem.

It was the anthem of a certain SCHOOL of poets, not all poets. They were the Cavalier poets, or the Metaphysical poets. And that other thing that Robin Williams said, that the real reason for poetry was to woo women, was really true of these guys.

That was almost all they did. They came right AFTER SHakespeare, and were constantly writing poems to get the ladies to give it up. But it was part of their Credo, Live now! Live large!

Sounds a lot like Rock’n’Roll to me.

Check out this bit by Donne:
Go and catch a falling star,
Get with child a mandrake root,
Tell me where all past years are,
Or who cleft the devil’s foot,
Teach me to hear mermaids singing,
Or to keep off envy’s stinging,
And find
What wind
Serves to advance an honest mind

Remind you of anyone? Dylan? Hendrix?

When John Donne is young, he pretty much devotes himself to pursuit of chasing tail. His poems are almost entirely seduction poems.

But he gets older. He passes 30. And he gets religious.

But he doesn’t leave it behind. “It” being the passionate intensity. If you ask me, and maybe it’s because I’m a jaded female who is not impressed with seduction attempts, the religious poems are much more powerful than his earlier carnal works.

Here is my favorite:

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,
Labour to admit you, but O, to no end.
Reason, your viceroy in me, me should defend,
But is captived, and proves weak or untrue.
Yet dearly I love you, and would be loved 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.

The driving energy of that is just as much as a head-banging drum line or a squealing guitar riff. Rock on, John Donne!

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