Study Guide

The Computation Tough-O-Meter

By John Donne


(4) Base Camp

"The Computation" has a single, "metaphysical conceit," which it rides like a wave until the end. The poem's laser-like focus helps the reader stay focused, too, even when the syntax becomes difficult and old-fashioned. Donne's use of the subjunctive tense ("thou wouldst they might last") and his ambiguous use of the word "or" creates some difficulty in figuring out exactly what he means. But a poem about a guy who thinks a day contains 2,400 is not meant to be a tightly logical argument – you should take it as an expression of extreme devotion.