No man is an island,
Entire of itself.
Each 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 thine own
Or of thine friend’s were.
Each man’s death diminishes me,
For I am involved in mankind.
Therefore, send not to know
For whom the bell tolls,
It tolls for thee.
– John Donne (1624 – originally written as prose)
This poem came up in relation to the recent death of Steve Jobs – no matter what opinion you may have had of the man, what he did certainly changed the world we live in, in ways we never imagined. His death will affect the world we live in as well. How quickly our life goes by!
This also shows how you can think you know something really well when you actually don’t – I’ve heard the phrases “No man is an island” and “for whom the bell tolls,” but I never knew they belonged to the same poem until recently. John Donne actually states this thought very beautifully.