Saturday, April 23, 2011
Happy Easter, Happy National Poetry Month!
It's Easter weekend and National Poetry Month, no better time to celebrate and read the poetry of George Herbert. Herbert, a British poet in the 17th century, was also a priest. He is known as one of the metaphysical poets, who wrote about theories of existence and knowledge. As a priest, Herbert applied Christian themes to his theories and is known as a poet who used metaphor skillfully. His poetry typographically often creates shapes, as in his famous "Easter Wings."
Lord, who createdst man in wealth and store,
Though foolishly he lost the same,
Decaying more and more,
Till he became
Oh 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 beginne:
And still with sicknesses and shame
Thou didst so punish sinne,
That I became
Let me combine
And feel this day thy victorie:
For, if I imp my wing on thine
Affliction shall advance the flight in me.
—-George Herbert, Easter Wings from The Temple (1633)
To see how the printed version appeared and fully appreciate the "wings" imagery, click here.