Blasted with Sighs, Surrounded with Tears

(title and tone “borrowed” from John Donne’s Twicknam Garden)


Hither I come
to seek the spring,
this spider love
this Manna turned to gall
this all
these laughing, mocking trees
and these
hearts unshined in eyes
this serpentine
Paradise found.
Hither I come,
sighing with spring
and a day well


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32 Responses to Blasted with Sighs, Surrounded with Tears

  1. whimsygizmo says:

    Written for Kenia’s cool challenge over at Imaginary Garden with Real Toads:

    She bids us to choose a poet who doesn’t normally “speak” to us, and choose a line we could love…make it our title, and write about the same subject matter, or in the same tone. The language barrier between me and John Donne has always been a bit too far and wide, but at Kenia’s prodding, I realized there are some beautiful phrases to be read. I still can’t wade my way through all those extra e’s on a regular basis, though. 😉

  2. Love the last line… ‘a day well Donne!’ Very smart 😉

  3. Shawna says:

    Cute play at the end there. 🙂 I don’t care for the tone, however. And I’m pretty certain I don’t like the poet either. How does one go searching for a disliked poet?

    • whimsygizmo says:

      Easy. Just google “John Donne.” 😉

      • I googled sexist poets and there he was!! Lots to loathe! lol

      • Shawna says:

        I guess don’t want to find a poet I don’t like. But if I write another one, I will use Emily Dickinson. I want to love her like every good little poet. But I just don’t. Like Kenia, I have her book and read it from time to time trying to make myself enjoy it. She has some good lines, for sure. That reminds me of my favorite of her lines. I’ll see if I can work something up using it. Thanks for the inspiration without you even being here. You make a great sounding board. 😉

      • whimsygizmo says:

        I feel the same way about Dickinson, in many ways, and also Ed-na St. Vin-cent Mi-llay. (My best friend in high school and I always said it in i-AM-bic pen-TA-meter. ) I’d really like to wanna like ’em. And sometimes I do. But always a line, or phrase. Never a whole poem. But you know by now, I’m a bit of a poetic rebel. 😉

      • shawnacy says:

        i never was one to latch onto dickinson, until recently when i read her letters. … i can’t seem to get enough of them now. they call for really careful attention, i’ve found. deep analysis. she does a lot with plays on words (‘sea’ intended also to mean ‘see’ &etc.). i should have picked one of hers for the challenge, but i don’t know if i’m quite at that pay grade.

      • Shawna says:

        That’s how I am about Sylvia Plath; I’ve always enjoyed her poetry, but I really fell in love with her when I read her journals. They are phenomenal.

        Using multiple word meanings to plant subliminal messages is an underused device that can be quite effective (i.e., “sea”/”see”). Playing with connotations is a must in poetry. I will have to look at her letters.

  4. I think you have done a terrific job of writing in Donne’s tone. Clever last line too.

  5. Teresa says:

    How wonderfully clever! I love how you mastered this task. 🙂

  6. hedgewitch says:

    That’s one of my favorite Donne poems–he is old school, I know, and it’s almost like reading a foreign language till you get used to it–still, you picked out the lines that would be important in any style, the heart and meat of it, and made them work in a more modern framework. Very good job, and fun to read from the perspective of knowing the ‘olde’ poem first.

  7. FIRST!!! NO WAY!!! I picked the same stinkin’ poet!!! lol I couldn’t find a poet/poem I didn’t like so I looked up “sexist poets,” and found him!! I can’t believe the luck….too cool. Okay now that I got that out of my system I’m going to read your poem! 🙂

  8. Okay…one more thing, same site too!!! Crazy coincidence.

    I love what you did with this:

    “these laughing, mocking trees
    and these
    hearts unshined in eyes”

    “De,” fresh way that you captured this theme! Awesomeness!

  9. isadoragruye says:

    ha ha.. I will repeat some of what I shared at Razz’s posting….at first I hated Donne. I think it is because my British literature wore loafers and hated my interpretation of “The Rhyme of the Ancient Mariner”. Then I read one of his poems where Donne referred to the sun as a “saucy pedantic wench,” which I found brill. I kind of classify people by three categories 1) likes Donne–must be religious and dull. 2) Hates Donne–doesn’t read or has reservations about dusty language. or 3) Can quote Donne in a drunken intellectual debate–it’s a survival of the fittest, baby.

    I love what you have captured here.

    • whimsygizmo says:

      LOVE your categories. 😉 I think I was a 2…planning to read more and become a 3. 😉
      Love the phrase “saucy pedantic wench.” Owe an “Aubade” for another prompt, and may have to quote Donne, now. 😉 Thank you!

      • whimsygizmo says:

        Just found it and it’s actually “saucy pedantic wretch,” which I don’t like nearly as much. Still using this morning, though. 😉

  10. The phrase “spider love” is so original – it sprung upon my inner eye and clings there.
    (As to the comment above mine: 1) and 3) apply to me – except for the religious and dull part 😉 )

  11. margaretbednar says:

    I enjoyed your poem and all these comments. I have learned a lot with this exercise. I think you ended your poem perfectly!

  12. shawnacy says:

    your tongue is in precisely the right place.
    and now i’m kicking myself for not having chosen pope (strange neural leap there… sorry). he’s maybe my #1 least favorite poet of all time. pompus blighter.
    i had to read a lot of donne, along with george herbert in one class, and the prof was a *little* pedantic about reading the olde english just as it was written, spelling and all.
    while i can’t say it’s my favorite, it lead me to goethe, and faust for which i will be always grateful.

  13. vivinfrance says:

    A wonderful pastiche and a fascinating discussion to follow. I gave a big smile at your last line pun/homonym! I too am ambivalent about Donne, but iambic pentameter is one of my poetic loves. Wasn’t this a great prompt?

    • whimsygizmo says:

      Viv, I would love iambic too, if I wrote as gorgeously in it as you. 😉
      And sometimes I do like it, when i read it truly well done. I had a high school college prep English teacher who overdid it, I think.
      I turned to E.E. Cummings for comfort. Rebel to the core. 😉

  14. Lindy Lee says:

    Another well Donne one, WhimsyGizmo…

  15. shanyns says:

    Well done, clever and really good!

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