Reflecting on words written 500 years ago...
John Donne was writing in the (his) present and yet his insight and words are no less true today, in our present.
The bell tolls for all of us, every day, every hour, every minute, every second. This is a big kind of reflection.
For me, it's the inter-connectedness in the meaning of these words that toll for me. How can we be so connected (mankind together on a big rock called earth, in a solar system, in a galaxy, in a universe) and yet make decisions based on being somehow separate and a part from each other? Decisions made here or there rippling across oceans and continents affecting the lives of others who didn't make those decisions in the first place.
We might think we are different, through our colour, creed, belief, birth location but if John Donne is on the money, that thought isn't true in the big sense, just in the little, keep me safe, I must be special, sense.
If we keep trying to break our inter-connectedness then we will start to believe we are not connected at all. That would bring mankind to a sad, sad place...an island, maybe. I might think I'd like to be on that island but really it's no place I want to be, not really, not permanently.
The bright star, the beauty of this passage, is that always in every age everyone is involved with everyone else, we just don't remember it.
John Donne reminds me.
"All mankind is of one author, and is one volume; 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...No man is an island entire of itself; every man is a piece of the continent, a part of the main...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" - John Donne (1572-1631) in Devotions Upon Emergent Occasions, Meditation XVII
Is this why floral tributes become such symbols for people even when they don't know the person or people who have gone?
And the inter-connectedness becomes evident in such laying down of flowers and messages for those we will never know.
This is a wonder and why we still exist - at least in my opinion.