Books Poetry

A love poem with shades of Donne

I read this love poem a few days ago on The Writer’s Almanac run by Garrison Keillor and it reminded me of John Donne. It is witty and playful like Donne’s love poems.


By Ramon Montaigne

The Mississippi at its mouth
Joins the Gulf of Mexico,
The west wind mixes with the south,
High pressure with the low.

Nothing in nature stands apart,
All things rendezvous—
I’d like to mingle with you.
Intermingled, intertwined,
This is what I have in mind.
I just feel a sudden urge
To merge.

The compound that is chlorophyll
Formed as the light increases
Makes every little flower thrill
With photosynthesis.
The morning glory mingles
With the honeysuckle vine,
Come wrap your little tendrils around mine.

I’ve been lonely as a cloud,
Drifting miserable and proud,
Lonely as a limestone butte—
Handsome, noble, destitute,
But I need you, I confess
Let’s coalesce.

Donne, of course, is far more witty and the analogies he draws are clever and unexpected. Take The Flea, for example. Here the lover wants to consummate his love, but look at his ingenious argument to justify his plea. The flea has already sucked his blood and hers, he tells his love. “And in this flea our two bloods mingled be,” he says. “And this, alas! is more than we would do.” Here’s the complete poem, a clever, playful plea for lovemaking.