Monday, April 2, 2012

Monday's Poetry: "Easter Day" and "The Easter Flower"

by Pa Rock
Poetry Appreciator

Spring arrived almost two weeks ago.  Yesterday was Palm Sunday, and Good Friday is right around the corner.  That means that next Sunday is Easter, a holiday made extra special this year because my youngest son and his beautiful family will be here on the island to help me celebrate!

In honor of this upcoming religious holiday, I have selected two poems to highlight, each by a favorite writer of mine.  The first selection is "Easter Day" by the wonderful British wit, Oscar Wilde, and the second is "The Easter Flower" by black American writer and influential member of the Harlem Renaissance, Claude McKay.

I'm sure that the Pope and fundamentalist ministers everywhere take great comfort in knowing that gay people like Oscar Wilde and Claude McKay were able to glorify the Christian story with their beautiful poetry - and I absolutely know that Jesus would have loved them just as they were.  Christianity is, after all, a religion based on compassion and love of our fellow man.

Easter Day
by Oscar Wilde

The silver trumpets rang across the Dome:
The people knelt upon the ground with awe:
And borne upon the necks of men I saw,
Like some great God, the Holy Lord of Rome.
Priest-like, he wore a robe more white than foam,
And, king-like, swathed himself in royal red,
Three crowns of gold rose high upon his head:
In splendour and in light the Pope passed home.
My heart stole back across wide wastes of years
To One who wandered by a lonely sea,
And sought in vain for any place of rest:
'Foxes have holes, and every bird its nest.
I, only I, must wander wearily,
And bruise my feet, and drink wine salt with tears.

The Easter Flower
by Claude McKay

Far from this foreign Easter damp and chilly
My soul steals to a pear-shaped plot of ground,
Where gleamed the lilac-tinted Easter lily
Soft-scented in the air for yards around;

Alone, without a hint of guardian leaf!
Just like a fragile bell of silver rime,
It burst the tomb for freedom sweet and brief
In the young pregnant year at Eastertime;

And many thought it was a sacred sign,
And some called it the resurrection flower;
And I, a pagan, worshiped at its shrine, 

Yielding my heart unto its perfumed power.

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