O Dark Dark Dark

Today being the winter solstice, the shortest day here in the northern hemisphere, I thought I would point to this bit from T. S. Eliot that I always think of on this day: O dark dark dark. They all go into the dark, The vacant interstellar spaces, the vacant into the vacant, The captains, merchant bankers, eminent men of letters, The generous patrons of…

“Immensity, cloister’d in thy dear womb”: John Donne on the Annunciation

Students of Renaissance English poetry all get to know John Donne, that 16th/17th century priest and poet who vacillated painfully between whether to remain with the Church of England or to be a Catholic. He also vacillated between a life of devotion and the passions which afflict us all since the Fall. And his poetry reflects all this struggle. To my mind, perhaps his…