“Any man’s death diminishes me, because I am involved in mankind, and therefore never send to know for whom the bell tolls; it tolls for thee.” ~ John Donne (1572-1631) from Meditation XVII
My grandpa is quite old, I think he’s seven
One day, I’m told that I’ll be this old too
in between I know that I should be
mindful of the bell that rings for you
diminishing the life that’s meant for me
So I should make the best of every day
and follow conscience’ dictate as I go
be grateful for my blessings on the way
and, like my body, know my mind can grow
To know that all about me is my heaven.
The idea for the title of this poem came from Patience Strong’s Collection of poetry, “Yesterdays and Tomorrows”, part of The Patience Strong Treasury. I believe John Donne intended that his brief essay, entitled “Meditation XVII” – whilst it may have sounded very doom-laden in the context of its time – should also be a celebration of life. But, as a preacher, particularly at the turn of the 17th century, he was bound to preach to his congregations, as well as the audiences for his poetry, of the importance of appreciating what you have, whilst you have it.
The lovely photograph, taken by my niece, was one of many from my recent 70th birthday party, arranged as a complete surprise by my three children and my niece. It was a very special evening.
© 2020 John Anstie
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