Batter My Heart

The other night I enjoyed an hour or so of reading poetry with our son, Josiah.  One of the poems that we read was this gem by John Donne.  Like many others, I first read Donne in English 101 in university — in fact, I wrote a paper on Death Be Not Proud.

*****************

Batter my heart, three-person’d God, for you
As yet but knock, breathe, shine, and seek to mend;
That I may rise and stand, o’erthrow me, and bend
Your force to break, blow, burn, and make me new.
I, like an usurp’d town to’another due,
Labor to’admit you, but oh, to no end;
Reason, your viceroy in me, me should defend,
But is captiv’d, and proves weak or untrue.
Yet dearly’I love you, and would be lov’d fain,
But am betroth’d unto your enemy;
Divorce me,’untie or break that knot again,
Take me to you, imprison me, for I,
Except you enthrall me, never shall be free,
Nor ever chaste, except you ravish me.

About Wes Bredenhof

Pastor of the Free Reformed Church, Launceston, Tasmania. View all posts by Wes Bredenhof

2 responses to “Batter My Heart

  • Joel Faber

    I love this sonnet. He wrote several like that, based around an amazing ‘conceit’ that just turns the world around with its perspective.

  • Kevin Barrow

    We first found this sonnet in the midst of great trial. Our third son was diagnosed with moderate to severe autism at 18 months old. My wife taped it to our kitchen cabinet door, the one we needed to open to get his supplies. He is 9 years old now and considered a typical child. We never really excepted this result but will always know what effect Batter my Heart played, and is playing, through God’s providence. It remians taped to the door to this day.

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