Writing back in 1611, Donne was giving expression to the spread of scepticism and bewilderment that he saw engulfing English society. At that time Donne and other thinkers were experiencing, however, the birth of a "new Philosophy".
Fast forward to Trinbago 2012 — those societal ailments appear to be the same — but for us there are no feelings of creative birth pangs, instead there seems to be a stifling mood, a stranglehold maybe, gradually coming to us "in pieces", with "all coherence gone."
Holidaying in the US last week I came away with the warning that their president, Barrack Obama gave to his Republican rival, Mitt Romney: "The truth of the matter is that you can't just make stuff up."
Obama was quick to add that the warning was one lesson a person must learn in the oval office. I left there with the recognition that it is a lesson applicable to all persons in office, wherever.
Machiavelli, whose practical advice lives on centuries after as the "How-to-Book" of most politicians, once confided to a friend: "I never believe what I say, or say what I believe".
The mood that Donne was articulating centuries ago, I sense, blows throughout this land with chilling effect; the style of Machiavelli is there too in our politics. But from Obama's advice our politicians should discern that the prevailing mood cannot be confronted with a government fudging as it goes along, its cabinet members disingenuous, and relying on crude political spin, then on outright lies, when finally caught.
Trinbago's electorate could be considered politically-engaged enough to begin a national conversation, revisiting political standards and appropriateness.
We are at the stage to demand, or call out holders of public office — the PM and her Cabinet, Senators, down the line to Boards and CEOs of state enterprises — to account to us honestly.
This is by no means a fanciful suggestion; it is one that must go beyond the scope of the Integrity Commission, It is just that we, in Trinbago, cannot continue to believe that we are building a nation — but yet the People's Partnership Government keeps handing us a daily dose "mis-steps", as though we need some kind of contraceptive pill. Then its members, like a disowning lover, ask indifferently that we simply "move on".
Let's be frank, Trinbago is "in a state". The Prime Minister, as she hovers above from town to country home, appears desensitised to, and disconnected from, both the chaotic state of her Government and the prevailing anxieties.
We have seen our leaders absconding from their responsibilities before. There was a joke circulating in the diplomatic community at the UN at one time about Trinbago under the PNM, that at vote call we were "always present, but absent".
Trinbago now seems to have a Prime Minister, whose absence in the decision-making process is more significant than her presence.
Look at any area:
Crime — The People's Partnership Government's hopes to solve it through Jack Warner "a man of action". Warner remains, inter alia, under investigation by our Police Service, yet the Cabinet line Minister, operating, with impunity, beyond the acting Commissioner of Police, as the "Commandante of Police"; a man, whom an international court has branded as "a person who is economical with the truth"; who, as president of the Caribbean football body, "co-mingled" his personal funds with that of the organisation.
Health — the Minister is caught "moonlighting"; he is not fired, but lives on to preside over a situation in which the same charges are made against other doctors. Although two official reports stated that 223 patients received radiation overdoses at the Brian Lara Cancer Centre, his Ministry continues to send patients there, and the Minister's name plate continued to list him as renting space office from Medcorp Ltd which owns the Centre.
Education — What can the Minister of Education now tell students and teachers, about home-training, discipline and violence after a video has gone viral showing his son "planassing" an elderly man? Is he still in that office?
Parliament — Why was the House rule, in which the Speaker protects persons who are non-members of the House, not imposed, when Sport Minister, Anil Roberts launched an attack on Anthony Harford?
Sport — Did Jack Warner, who reportedly made millions from international Sport administration, really advise Minister Roberts not to fund to our national football team?
Planning and Development — After the fiasco of the Independence celebrations, shouldn't we "think critically", about preventing Minister Tewarie from even planning a school sports?
And, there is Finance Minister Howai — good banker, but obviously clueless in even home budgeting.
Will somebody wake up the Prime Minister!
• Keith Subero, a former Express news editor, has since followed a
career in communication