Emergent Occasions


No man is an Island, intire of it selfe;

Every man is a peece of the Continent, a part of the maine;

If a Clod bee washed away by the Sea, Europe is the lesse, as well as if a Promontorie were, as well as if a Mannor of thy friends or of thine owne were;

Any mans death diminishes me, because I am involved in Mankinde;

And therefore never send to know for whom the bell tolls;

It tolls for thee.

— John Donne
‘Meditation XVII’ from
Devotions upon Emergent Occasions

Out the car my foot hit the cement at exactly
Noon, exactly the moment the bell tolled
The bell hitting me close by yet, I ignored her,

Until she shouted and roared, until she leapt
High; I ignored her until the occasion
Emerges and so that I had to beat back the waves.

How true, I learn; one can never unring the bell.
No. Unsell your filthy body you
Holy whore, just see if you can.

Wring out my sweet, soaking dishrag and
Twist her with your might and she will
Only be more ragged and limp.

The day presses on into isolotary comfort of night.
Dinner bells gone cold.
Faberware stands hard up and dried in racks.

I am diminished. One foot on the cement
Clod floating away from the
Maine land, all’s quiet, except the ringing in my ears.

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