"A Valediction: Forbidding Mourning" by John Donne

Sarah who authors "Trying to Grok" introduced this poem to me recently. It is her favorite poem in reference to deployment. I read many references to what John Donne was saying to wife when he penned this poem back in 1611, it is a very romantic poem, which although not about war, it is about separation between husband and wife, about a goodbye that he wishes for both of their sakes will not be one that causes a scene, but will be like the quiet passing of a soul to heaven......and so thank you Sarah for introducing me to the wonderful world of John Donne and his.......

"A Valediction: Forbidding Mourning"

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
ourselves know not what it is,
Inter-assurèd 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 stifft win compasses are two;
Thy soul, the fix'd foot, makes no show
To move, but doth, if th' 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. I love the image of the compass (not the NSEW kind but the pencil that makes a circle): me at home and my husband roaming away, but always connected to me. And that we love each other so much that we don't even need to see each other's "eyes, lips, and hands." I just love everything about this poem.

    And I love Jimmy Stewart too.

  2. Wow. Thank you for sharing.


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