John Donne on Amy Winehouse

randomlychad  —  July 23, 2011 — 5 Comments

Today, at the altogether too young age of 27, Amy Winehouse was found dead. (Having never heard her music, I’ll not comment upon it–though one does not take home five Grammys in a single evening without being hugely talented).

'Amy Winehouse' photo (c) 2009, VersusLiveQuizShow - license: http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0/

John Donne, though himself dead many centuries, has this to say about Miss Winehouse’s death:

“when one man dies, one chapter is not torn out of the book, but translated into a better language; and every chapter must be so translated; God employs several translators; some pieces are translated by age, some by sickness, some by war, some by justice; but God’s hand is in every translation, and his hand shall bind up all our scattered leaves again, for that library where every book shall lie open to one another; as therefore the bell that rings to a sermon, calls not upon the preacher only, but upon the congregation to come; so this bell calls us all: but how much more me, who am brought so near the door by this sickness.”

We are all of us but a heartbeat away from death’s door at any given moment. None of us knows when death’s knell shall sound for us; Miss Winehouse’s tolled today.

Dr. Donne, to us, has this to say:

“No man is an island, entire of itself; 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, as well as if a manor of thy friend’s or of thine own 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.”

Amy Winehouse was a member of the human family, and her death diminishes us all.

We would do well to remember that.

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randomlychad

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Christ-follower, husband, dad, blogger, reader, writer, movie buff, introvert, desert-dweller, omnivore, gym rat. May, or may not, have a burgeoning collection of Darth Vader t-shirts. Can usually be found drinking protein shakes, playing with daughter, working out with his son, or hanging out with his wife. Makes a living playing with computers. Subscribe to RandomlyChad by Email

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  • Cindy Holman

    I feel the same way when someone passes -- and when Michael Jackson passed a few years back I remember being really sad -- although others seemed….GLAD? It was confusing and heartbreaking. Thanks for the great reminder Chad.

    • Hey, Cindy! Thanks for reading! Can't any credit--the thoughts are the “master's” (Donne). We would all do well to ponder his Meditation 17 from time to time.

  • One of the best singers of the new generation. She was the really talented one. RIP.

    • So I have heard. The wisdom I find in Donne's words is simply that we must look to our own hearts first, making an object lesson of our flaws (rather than turning the tragedy of an early death into a polemic).

  • Hahahaha. I’m not too birght today. Great post!