Sunday, April 15, 2007

Easter Wings

George Herbert (1593-1633) in “Easter Wings” celebrates Christ’s resurrection, which is presented as the means by which humankind overcomes sin and attains freedom. The poem consists of two ten-line stanzas of varying line lengths.

It is a Pattern or concrete poem. It physically resembles its subject matter. Early editions printed the poem vertically so that the shape of the wings was more pronounced. [see below]

The length of the lines decreases to reflect their content, diminished man.

Herbert alludes to the paradox of the "fortunate fall" or felix culpa. Only by sinning with Eve, and being cast out of the Garden of Eden into a world of labour, pain, and death, did Adam enable the second Adam, Christ, to redeem man and show a love and forgiveness that otherwise could never have been.

Herbert suggests that if he adds his feathers to God's wings, he will fly the higher because of God's might. Sometimes feathers were grafted or imped into a falcon's wing to increase the power of its flight.

Does the wing-like stanza on one page represents Herbert's wings, and the wing-stanza on the facing page represents God's ?