A Physiology of the Phrase
(after reading a few closing lines from John Donne’s “Anatomy of the World”)
Between the grave and heaven lives the song.
“Verse has a middle nature,” John Donne wrote.
We’ve gotten Law and History all wrong,
Preferring tuneful lyrics learned by rote
Where syllables and accents, weak and strong,
Alliterate and rhyme, and thus the quote
Remembered by us: we, the living throng,
Who in this passing present time devote
Ourselves to banging loudly on the gong.
And though our symbol strings keep myths afloat,
Eternity so vastly deep and long
Of neither bodies nor of souls takes note.
Michael Murry, "The Misfortune Teller," Copyright © 2021