Teach me to hear mermaids singing,

Art, poetry

alchemy 4Dear, dear reader, How I must love thee!!  I have been engrossed in choosing just the right verse to entertain you today, and in that pursuit have managed to be diverted and distracted by the myriad of interesting sideshows available to the curious via this cobweb of invisible thread.  And yes, I have chosen ; I cannot say it was easy, nor my immediate choice but it is done now and you need to slow down and enjoy .  If you read my blog, you will already know about my preoccupation with the paradoxes thrown up by ;enjoying the status of being human.  It is exactly down to this predilection that I present the following marvellous poem by John Donne, a man who would have been welcome at my table anytime.  Such a mind, and such a passion!  He loved women, so don’t read this as being misogynist, I fancy it was more a consideration on the fallibility of all women and all men, an observation that we fall foul of the divine.

 Song: Go and catch a falling star

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.

If thou be’st born to strange sights,
Things invisible to see,
Ride ten thousand days and nights,
Till age snow white hairs on thee,
Thou, when thou return’st, wilt tell me,
All strange wonders that befell thee,
And swear,
No where
Lives a woman true, and fair.

If thou find’st one, let me know,
Such a pilgrimage were sweet;
Yet do not, I would not go,
Though at next door we might meet;
Though she were true, when you met her,
And last, till you write your letter,
Yet she
Will be
False, ere I come, to two, or three.

2 thoughts on “Teach me to hear mermaids singing,

  1. This is good comedy! The light-hearted, romancing early Donne before a family tragedy — loss of a child, as I recall — led him to the somber and religious poems of his later years. Death Be Not Proud, for instance, though many have called thee mighty and dreadful . . . . A great poet, anyway you look at it, or so it seems to me.


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