The Relique

by John Donne

    When my grave is broke up againe 
    Some second ghest to entertaine, 
    (For graves have learn’d that woman-head 
    To be to more then one a Bed) 
        And he that digs it, spies         
A bracelet of bright haire about the bone, 
        Will he not let’us alone, 
And thinke that there a loving couple lies, 
Who thought that this device might be some way 
To make their soules, at the last busie day,  
Meet at this grave, and make a little stay? 
 
        If this fall in a time, or land, 
        Where mis-devotion doth command, 
        Then, he that digges us up, will bring 
        Us, to the Bishop, and the King,   
          To make us Reliques; then 
Thou shalt be a Mary Magdalen, and I 
          A something else thereby; 
All women shall adore us, and some men; 
And since at such time, miracles are sought,  
I would have that age by this paper taught 
What miracles wee harmelesse lovers wrought. 
 
        First, we lov’d well and faithfully, 
        Yet knew not what wee lov’d, nor why, 
        Difference of sex no more wee knew,   
        Then our Guardian Angells doe; 
          Comming and going, wee 
Perchance might kisse, but not between those meales; 
          Our hands ne’r toucht the seales, 
Which nature, injur’d by late law, sets free:  
These miracles wee did; but now alas, 
All measure, and all language, I should passe, 
Should I tell what a miracle shee was.

 

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Read by Rick Mullin, who is a journalist and painter whose poetry has appeared in several print and online journals including Measure, The Raintown Review, American Arts Quarterly, Crannóg and Ep;phany. His chapbook, Aquinas Flinched, was published by Modern Metrics, an imprint of Exot Books, New York. His booklength poem, Huncke, was published in 2010 by Seven Towers, Dublin, Ireland. Rick lives in northern New Jersey.
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