Easter Monday, and a suitable voice to celebrate it is that of George Herbert, the seventeenth-century Metaphysical poet, whose individualistic religious writing is imbued with sincerity and an intimacy of spirit.
Easter Wings is a kind of early “concrete” poem, mimicking the larks’ wings. It should be viewed sideways for full effect.
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Lord, who createdst man in wealth and store,
Though foolishly he lost the same,
Decaying more and more
Till he became
O let me rise
As larks, harmoniously,
And sing this day thy victories:
Then shall the fall further the flight in me.
My tender age in sorrow did begin;
And still with sicknesses and shame
Though dids’t so punish sin,
That I became
Let me combine,
And feel this day thy victory;
For, if I imp my wing on thine,
Affliction shall advance the flight in me.
from PRAYER (I)
Softness, and peace, and joy, and love, and bliss,
Exalted manna, gladness of the best
Heaven in ordinary, man well dressed,
The Milky Way, the bird of Paradise,
Church bells beyond the stars heard, the soul’s blood,
The land of spices; something understood.