My Oyster Card is still in my pocket. I didn't realize until today that I hadn't taken it out. Yes, that means that I haven't washed my jeans. There are so many other habits that make me a sicko more than the fact that I have only one pair of jeans that fits me well, and I haven't washed them in a week. The point is I now know that the Oyster Card is in my pants pocket, and I haven't the heart to take it out. It just makes me happy to see it when I rifle through my credit cards to get to my student ID.
Anything to preserve the bit of maturity and euphoria I felt at having been in the UK. Nothing helps more with that than my tea. The imagination always needs help, one bit of sensory stimulation to open a window for the mind to follow. I sit down with a pot of Fortnum & Mason Earl Grey, with some Pushkin blend from Harrod's, or some Twining's Earl Grey, and it just rockets me back to any place I loved on my journey. It's all at my fingertips when I take my tea.
I'm not one for poetry. I know there's some beautiful stuff out there, but you sure have to weed through a lot of crap. Any fool can rhyme, any man or woman can write meaningfully. But it takes such sharpness of mind and incredible deliberation to write words that resonate with a stranger. And so I'm very pleased that John Donne fell in my lap, because I wouldn't have gone looking for him.
He fell in my lap at St. Paul's Cathedral. Only one effigy from the original cathedral survived the Great Fire and the Blitz in one piece, and it's his. He stands toward the southeast end of the interior. The audio tour quoted probably his most famous lines:
"No man is an island unto himself; every man is a piece of the Continent, a part of the main; if a clod be washed away by the Sea, Europe is the less, as well as if a Promontory were... Any man's death diminishes me because I am involved in Mankind. And therefore, never send to know for whom the bell tolls; it tolls for thee."
I edited it a bit to take out some of the Old English spellings that might distract. I might have intended to include a lot more of his work here, but I think that people are just too bored with blogs anyway. If you find yourself wanting more, you won't need my invitation. You'll go after it. You'll drink in every word. You'll seclude yourself so that you can enjoy his words uninterrupted. His poems are the most prayerful, the most erotic, the most contemplative, the most love sick, the most religious. Or for your personality, he might just be more of the kind of crap that you have to weed through to get to someone who writes for you.
My shift is almost over. One should never have to work six hours straight.