Our Relative Capacities

[A sonnet based on a passage from a sermon preached by John Donne at White-Hall, 8 April 1621]
We have the measure of the stomach urn,
The quarts and gills of blood from every vein;
We know each cistern, pipe, each duct and drain
Where matter masses and our fluids churn.
Within us are such rooms at every turn:
Larders, cellars, and vaults where we maintain
Those vats where wine turns water once again,
And vessels where mysterious fires burn.
But where’s the whirlpool of the covetous mind,
That endless hive of honey of our wit?
What place lies in our heart or brain for it?—
Less than thimbles, anatomists can find.
For worldly matters we have ample space,
But little room to keep such things as grace.

About Mark Allinson

Mark Allinson was born in 1947 and was raised in Melbourne, Australia. After working and travelling overseas for a number of years, Mark returned to university and completed a Ph.D in 1989 in English literature, and taught for six years at Monash university in Melbourne. He now teaches part-time on the remote campus of a regional university, south of Sydney. His poems have appeared in many leading online journals, among them, The Chimaera, The Formalist Portal, and The Pennsylvania Review. His first full-length collection, Tarn, was published by The New Formalist Press in September 2009.