poetry anthology 2021/22

A carrier pigeon has recently arrived at my writing shack, informing me that for the last few years, the world at large has been undergoing an illness of some sort, and that there has been a widespread fear about it. The carrier pigeon (his name is Percival) also came with the suggestion that for this year of writing verse, I should aim at something more relevant. I was quite moved to hear of this widespread calamity, and I thank the reader for sending in his proposal. I was not entirely sure what theme to extend my writing to, until I got talking to my good friend John Donne. Paraphrasing Solomon, he said there is one event common to all men, and that I should write about it. I am indebted to him for his suggestion - and furthermore, he has kindly offered to pen some lines of his own to preface this volume, which he given permission to reproduce here. Many thanks John.

Death, be not proud, though some have called thee
mighty and dreadful, for thou art not so;
for those whom thou think'st thou dost overthrow
die not, poor Death, nor yet canst thou kill me.
From rest and sleep, which but thy pictures be,
much pleasure; then from thee much more must flow,
and soonest our best men with thee do go,
rest of their bones, and soul's delivery.
Thou art slave to fate, chance, kings, and desperate men,
and dost with poison, war, and sickness dwell,
and poppy or charms can make us sleep as well
And better than thy stroke; why swell'st thou then?
One short sleep past, we wake eternally
and death shall be no more; Death, thou shalt die.