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The Flea by John Donne

The Flea

by John Donne

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Name me one great poet you'd rather have as your wingman than John Donne. Out at the bar, Friday night. Shakespeare would bore everyone with his genius--tortuous wordplay in everything he said. Wordsworth would bore you with stories about his favourite walks, and rainbows and shit. Leonard Cohen would steal your date and run. But Donne would just be rock solid--you'd go off to the toilet and he'd be all "so my friend really likes you, you know. And hey, you guys look good together. And there's something in your eyes when you look at each other--stardust or something, I dunno." And he'd sell them on it, and when you got back he'd sell you on lending him fifty bucks. He's that charming, that irrepressible.

Reclining on the divan with Lord Cholmondeley's daughter, flushed from wine and kisses. She has her virtue. He's a gentleman. Doesn't want to press the issue, oh no. But . . . buzz, buzz, here comes this little bloodsucking thing, and it touches down on her arm and bites, and drinks, and what he wouldn't give to be in that flea's position . . . .

So "mark but this flea"! he says, and a grin slowly spreads from ear to ear. "In this flea, our two bloods mingled be." You like me, right? Well, look: it won't hurt. It's basically already accomplished. And kinda dirty. Two bloods mingled be, so shall we--mingle them again?

But milady's no pushover. "That for your flea," says she, and raises her hand to strike. And Donne just ups his game. "Oh stay!" he cries, grabbing her hand, smothering it with kisses. Not only is this flea a vessel for our life's blood--he's also "our marriage bed, and marriage temple . . . . Though use make you apt to kill me"--cruel lady--"let not to that self-murder added be, and sacrilege, three sins in killing three." Devastating. ( )
24 vote MeditationesMartini | Feb 7, 2010 |
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