i’ve been reading the recently (2006) published biography of the great english poet johne donne. it is called ‘the reformed soul’, and it is written by john stubbs. donne, for those who don’t know him, lived in the late 1500’s and early 1600’s. he wrote the words “do not ask for whom the bell tolls; it tolls for thee”. (the writer hemingway later quoted him, famously, in his own work.) this amazing man, both widely read at home and an experienced man of the world – he fought in two campaigns at sea – is as anguished about, as he is lustful for, life. he notes in a verse letter about his time in the military, that during a great and terrifying storm, the unprepared men were “equally/ grieved that they are not yet dead and yet must die” (lines 45-46 in “the storm”.) this is juicy stuff, no? check out his bio, and his poetry comes to life. i warmly recommend him.