" Need I look upon a death’s head in a ring, that have one in my face?" John Donne


John Donne,
"DEVOTIONS UPON Emergent Occasions and seuerall steps in my Sicknes."
from XVI. Expostulation:

But, O my God, my God, do I that have this fever need other remembrances of my mortality? Is not mine own hollow voice, voice enough to pronounce that to me? Need I look upon a death’s head in a ring, that have one in my face? or go for death to my neighbour’s house, that have him in my bosom?

Above:
Robert Graves, back and front cover to Penguin paperback of GOOD-BYE TO ALL THAT
IMOGEN AND TWINKA, Imogen Cunningham and Twinka Thiebaud, 1981, by Judy Dater
Michael Fountain in June of 1975 and June of 2005

6 comments:

Anonymous said...

Ah the Michael I remember and the one I would not recognize on the street.....How we age, how our face changes in over 30 years.
Feeling older, Dee Ann

Ormondroyd's Encyclopedia Esoterica said...

Give me the glass, and therein will I read.
No deeper wrinkles yet? hath sorrow struck
So many blows upon this face of mine,
And made no deeper wounds? O flattering glass,
Like to my followers in prosperity,
Thou dost beguile me! Was this face the face
That every day under his household roof
Did keep ten thousand men? was this the face
That, like the sun, did make beholders wink?
Was this the face that faced so many follies,
And was at last out-faced by Bolingbroke?
A brittle glory shineth in this face:
As brittle as the glory is the face;
[Dashes the glass against the ground]
For there it is, crack'd in a hundred shivers.
Mark, silent king, the moral of this sport,
How soon my sorrow hath destroy'd my face.

Anonymous said...

Nay not destroyed, only different --more refined. The hairline (and color)recedes as we gain wisdom.
Sigh and smile, Dee Ann

Ormondroyd's Encyclopedia Esoterica said...

I heard Joseph Campbell, the mythologist, speak several times before his death (met him once) and he complained, "I don't feel like an old man-- I feel like a young man with something wrong with him!" Still takes very little provocation to make me nip and buck, cowgirl...:)
Michael

Aporia said...

Oh c'mon. You look a lot better than Robert Graves, who never did lose is shell-shocked expression and seems to have developed moonscape skin.

We're all prettier at 20, but we all have a hell of a lot more sense now--not to mention sensibility.

Ormondroyd's Encyclopedia Esoterica said...

well, the shell-shock was earned, indeed one of his shoulders was permanently lower than the other from having part of his chest blown away. he was thought dead and his parents informed while he was still in hospital. and moonscape skin? that's harsh, or shallow, i can't decide which, especially about veterans of WWI and people born when Victoria was still on the throne.

as for meself, i'm a much better person at 50 than i was at 20, albeit more troubled, but then "man is born to trouble." i suppose at 20 i would describe myself as sweet but emotionally dangerous and prone to thrash about. if elected president, i shall introduce a constitutional amendment that our outer appearance shall reflect our inner mental/spiritual/psychological/development, so that the best people among us will attract the most beautiful mates, and the real vicious shits will be easy to spot and avoid. i suppose emotional cripples (i was one) will walk with a Hephestean limp or something. within three generations, our outer beauty will reflect our inner beauty.
this legislation inspired by erich hoffer's lament, "What monstrosities would walk the streets were some people's faces as unfinished as their minds."
my utopia falls with a thud when i consider our president, because to me, an intuitive, everything he is is represented in his face and voice, and every virtue he espouses is the meanest , most blatant hypocrisy-- and the blind see not.