For Whom the Bell Tolls by John Donne

He for whom the bell tolls
perhaps he be
so ill as not to know
that the bell tolls
for him.
And perhaps I
am so much healthier
in mind
than those around
me realize
that this condition
has caused
the bell to
toll for me
after all.

This universal community
this church
which does all for the
sake of all
baptizing the child
affecting me
for we are all connected
in mind
and body
and spirit of course.

And when the church buries
me this action will
affect
everything else
as well
for all humanity
is but one book
written by one author
and so
when one dies
the chapter is closed
and another is opened.
The translation will come
through whatever
the language.
And each must be
translated in its
own way.

Some chapters are
translated by age
others by illness
some by war
and others justice.
But there is God
in every page
and the hand which
binds up all
the scattered pages
puts them together
in the library of the
mind where every
book lay open
and is free
of charge.

The bell tolls the sermon
call not for the preacher
but for the congregation
the bell calls us all in
but how much more me
who is so much closer
to death and
eternity?

Which order should
ring the bell?
Catholic or Protestant
does it really matter?
Either way it is God
calling us close
to him
this decision
of who is to rise
if we were truly
to understand
its meaning
we would be happy
to be the first
to rise as well
as the one
surprised
that the bell
tolls for
ourselves
indeed.

For the bell tolls
for that person who
thinks it tolls for
him.
And though it may not
toll again, from the moment
it is heard, we are united
with God.
For who does not look at the
sun when it rises?
And who can take away
his eyes from the celestial
surprises
of the comet streaking by?
Who is so deaf as not
to be able to hear the bell
which rings on any occasion?
Who can remove himself
from that signal
which reminds us all that
we will ultimately
leave this world
of mortal love
and human toil.

For no human is an island,
entirely separate.
We are all a piece of
the same continent,
a part of the whole.
And if a piece does wash
away into the sea,
the continent is indeed
lessened
as if a whole promontory
of a friend’s house
were to go missing.

Your death diminishes
me and mine yours
because we are all
in this together
this human kingdom.
Therefore, never
send to know
for whom the bell tolls.
It tolls for you.