After a Morning Among the English Poets

My head is full of poetry not my own.
With Tennyson’s Sir Bedivere I mourn
for Arthur, going forth in his black barge,
his bloodied head resting in the lap of a queen,
barely alive but admonishing us
to pray for his immortal soul.

Herrick admonishes in other words,
to gather rosebuds while we may
for tomorrow those very same flowers
will die, as one day so will you and I.

But then to Donne, stripped bare of career
for love of a girl. He speaks hope to her
and so to us:

If our two loves be one, or thou and I
Love so alike that none do slacken, none can die.

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