JOHN DONNE


I used to play records when I was working. I happened onto this recording by Christopher Hassall, the English actor, of Donne on one side and Wordsworth on the other. As I listened, those poems literally began taking over my hand, and I began to draw those very romantic, although also somewhat macabre, wash drawings. I began making images to match the poems.


Hearing that marvelous voice, one would understand why I was moved to do the work. It was the music of it, the performance of it, and of course that marvelous combination of courtly and vernacular language. I didn't notice the religious connotations, because his sentiment was so physical.


I was vulnerable to these sonnets because of personal and family travails: my grandmother, mother, daughter and closest friend were all part of this grinding daily responsibility. So these moody drawings, which everybody loved so much, were triggered by anguish as well as love.


 


 




The Relique


YEAR: 1958 SIZE: 15 X 22 SIGNED: OPPOSING PAGE TITLED: COVER E'preuve en cas de malhaus NACRE'


Thispoem takes the image from "The funerall" and treats it as if several decades had passed. The grave has been opened up to admint another corpse, and the poet imagines a gravediffer seeing the bracelet of hair as a device that will allow the lovers to find each other at the Reserrection:


When my grave is broke up againe
Some second shest to entertaine, (for graves have learn'd that woman-head to be to more than one a Bed)
And he that digs it, spies
A bracelet of bright haire about the bone,
Will he not let'us alone,
And thinke thaat there a loving couple lies,
...................



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