It’s Valentine’s Day


If you hate the holiday, blame Chaucer. If you enjoy it, here’s a lovely poem. As I often find myself far from my beloved, it comes to mind when ever I travel.

A Valediction: Forbidding Mourning

By John Donne

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 refined,
   That our selves 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 fixed foot, makes no show
   To move, but doth, if the other do.


And though it in the center 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.


  1. Reblogged this on Chris The Story Reading Ape's New (to me) Authors Blog and commented:
    Must be something in the air today, wonder what it is LOL 🙂

  2. I didn’t get to study Chaucer in college, but I’m really digging this. I can’t help picking out the double-meanings. 🙂

    1. katelaity says:

      Donne is a fascinating poet: from libertine to dotty in love to grieving widower who finds comfort in faith. Through it all, amazing poetry.

      1. Ha–I just realized my mistake. I will definitely look up Donne. 🙂

        1. katelaity says:

          He’s well worth a look — one of my faves.

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