There is little enough celebration of Easter or any probing of its meaning today in specifically verse..In turn Australia, never the most poetic of nations, has become so secular (or perhaps multicultural and fearful to offend those like Muslims who deny both the death and resurrection of Christ occurred), that this year’s Good Friday TV contained not a single programme related to the day. The following poem thus fills a poetic gap of sorts and is even a small act of poetic justice in the face of blind secularism/multiculturalism.
Poems of mine can be found throughout this blog, but I have not written any poetry for a while – the last entry was for last September. This latest offering, composed very quickly by my usual standards, came to me (or at least the idea for it did) unexpectedly, while driving my car on the Tuesday of this Easter week. Because it was so quickly written and carries various implications, I may yet edit the piece. It would nonetheless seem foolish to hold it back at this Easter season simply because I did not consider it as perfect as I could wish. But then, beyond poetry, I don’t think too much of art generally as regards the Resurrection theme (see comment below).
BEYOND EASTER DAWNING
A trembling of the earth alone gave sound
When Life revived. The pre–dawn air was still,
The sky dark amost as the Hades just traversed
And conquered too.
Though present and aware, no seeing angels sang
The moment that gave second birth to earth and soul
And most of all to bodily form, not owning which
Even lasting soul could live as homeless as the damned.
After the earth had moved and shouting soldiers,
Terrified, had fled their watch
The brooding silence had returned and
Lain across the hills of Zion’s troubled land
As though in wait for who at dawn
Might understand and celebrate
The range and heights of mystery.
Beneath the high serene of April sky
Within the second Eden of a garden’s place
What Nature’s Lord, the Morning Star, achieved
A passionate woman was the first to know.
And then the youthful bosom friend, the friend
Of soul. Both these while others talked in fear
Were able to believe if little more than
Joyful fact. Full forty days were needed to absorb
The larger truths and fifty till the Spirit sealed
With fire and tongues the new and growing
Powers now opened to belief on earth.
Though once revealed, the force of resurrection
Grows – the reason earth still travails to its liberty (1)
And still no heavenly choirs have sung the theme
Of life reborn and wholly changed.
Instead, towards the age’s end
And even as belief declines (2)
They wait, like us, who now and here
See more a light of noon than dawn
A promise of the trumpet’s blast
That raises even those in dust. And thus
On Easter’s morn we feel us sealed
And called beyond as not before.
1) Rom 8:22 …..the whole creation groans and travails
2) Luk 18::8 ….When he returns will the Son of Man find faith upon earth?
Until I started searching for pictures to accompany this poem, I had not quite taken in how curiously limiting and defective resurrection themed art is. You have little choice apart from archaic, misshapen mostly medieval images and modern, kitschy, mainly American, emotion based ones, almost none of which suggest the mystery of spiritual, physical and natural power involved. Between ancient and modern Claude Lorrain captures something of the first Sunday mood in its dreamier mystical, peace/shalom aspect, but, though the artist can’t be blamed for it, there is no notable connection to historical detail and setting. Michelangelo’s Renaissance Risen Christ sculpture presents its own problems as discussed by Frank Salmon ( https://goo.gl/7j36HP ) who points out how vastly more crucifixion than resurrection has engaged art and artists. I feel faced with one big artistic distortion, and for the first time have some sympathy for the aniconic position where religion is concerned. Better no image at all if the image can only be inadequate. However, all that is a subject in itself..