One of my favourite poets is the 16thC English poet and cleric, John Donne. He had the ability to reflect on our imperfect humanity in the light of God’s sovereignty and majesty. With humor and satire he was a poetic commentator on the human condition.
One of the few objects to survive the fire that destroyed St. Paul’s Cathedral (1666) was a statue of Donne in his funeral shroud. You can still see the smoke marks on base of the statue.
A brilliant example of his poetry is:
Holy Sonnet 14
Batter my heart, three person’d God; for, you
As yet but knocke, breathe, shine, and seeke to mend;
That I may rise, and stand, o’erthrow mee,’and bend
Your force, to breake, blow, burn and make me new.
I, like an usurpt towne, to’another due,
Labour to’admit you, but Oh, to no end,
Reason your viceroy in mee, mee should defend,
But is captiv’d, and proves weake or untrue.
Yet dearley’I love you,’and would be loved faine,
But am betroth’d unto your enemie:
Divorce mee,’untie, or breake that knot againe,
Take mee to you, imprison mee, for I
Except you’enthrall mee, never shall be free,
Nor ever chast, except you ravish mee.