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Peninsular Poetry: Poems for Easter

April 24th, 2011 by Chris Henry

This is an occasional feature for National Poetry month, with snippets of poems I’ve picked at random, and links to the full text at the Poetry Foundation, poetryfoundation.org. Chris Henry, reporter

Easter Wings, by Welsh poet George Herbert (1593-1633), is an example of a “shape poem.” Herbert often wrote about religion and the ongoing struggle between faith and doubt. This poem, if you read to the conclusion, ends on an optimistic note.

Lord, who createdst man in wealth and store,
Though foolishly he lost the same,
Decaying more and more,
Till he became
Most poore:
With thee
O let me rise
As larks, harmoniously,
And sing this day thy victories:
Then shall the fall further the flight in me. …

This poem, Easter (@2011) by Jill Alexander Essbaum, talks bout the disconnect the poet feels between the promise of Easter and the tangible reality of death. She misses her late loved ones and friends.

Easter
is my season
of defeat.

Though all
is green

and death
is done,

I feel alone.
As if the stone

rolled off
from the head

of the tomb
is lodged

in the doorframe
of my room …”

And here’s one that’s only sideways related to Easter, by contemporary poet Trish Dugger, who compares hearts to fragile Easter eggs.

Spare Parts

We barge out of the womb
with two of them: eyes, ears,

arms, hands, legs, feet.
Only one heart. Not a good

plan. God should know we
need at least a dozen,

a baker’s dozen of hearts.
They break like Easter eggs …

Here’s one more by D. Nurkse, whose parents escaped Nazi Europe during World War II. It’s about some women who have to work on Easter, at least part of the day.

Excelsior Fashion Products, Easter

… each sips
a private pint, all sitting
in the narrow room with our backs
to the center, each facing
his work—router, stain tray,
buffing wheel, drill press—
and with that sweet taste echoing
in our bones, we watch our hands
make what they always made
—rosewood handles—but now
we smile in delighted surprise …

I and a handful of my colleagues will be working on Easter, without our private pints alas.

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One Response to “Peninsular Poetry: Poems for Easter”

  1. Sharon OHara Says:

    “I and a handful of my colleagues will be working on Easter, without our private pints alas.”

    Let me add my THANKS that you and your colleagues ARE working on Easter to benefit us, your readers.

    Condolences you are working without Easter pints – ice cream I presume.

    Thank you all – Happy Easter 2011!
    Sharon O’Hara

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