Poetry Specially Written for Easter
Easter is a special time of year. Many people think of it as second only to Christmas. Easter conjures up the beautiful new beginnings of Spring, a new flowering of the seasons after a long cold Winter.
Little wonder Easter has been the inspiration for so many poets, from the famous to the unknown, to put pen to paper and produce thousands of poems to celebrate this wondrous time.
I thought it might be fun to put together a very small collection of such poems in honour of Easter on HubPages, and add a few of my own.
Why Easter Bunnies and Easter Eggs?
An explanation before we press on ...
Before I start with the poems, here is an explanation of why eggs and bunnies are so symbolic of the modern Easter holiday.
The following explanation appears on Answers.com WikiAnswers:
The Easter bunny and the Easter eggs
"Both eggs and rabbits have to do with fertility. Spring festivals tend to be about fertility and rebirth. This is a tradition that is older than Christianity and was coopted by Christianity when it was becoming a popular religion. As a recent religion, Christianity was usually smart enough not to mess with the local celebrations but just adapt them a little bit. That made it easier for people to go along.
From pagan religion, both the egg and the bunny are symbols of fertility. In the pagan religion, Easter was the "spring festival", celebrating fertility and requesting that the Gods give good crops. It makes sense that the rabbit and the egg would be symbols of spring festival.
Easter is also a symbol of the Anglo-Saxon goddess, Eostre, as the holiday was originally named after. Easter is a relatively new adoption of spelling which was used, as said above, to help make the coexistence and/or transition of religions go much smoother".
Limericks - Poems anyone can write!
Usually funny and always silly!
I can't imagine there is any one who has never written, or at least recited, a Limerick. Once the stuff of Old Tyme Music Hall comedians and children's comics, these timeless little ditties had but a single strict form.
The format is just five lines consisting of: 8 (or 9) syllables, 8 (or 9) syllables, 5 syllables, 5 syllables, and 8 (or 9) syllables. Lines 1,2 and 5 end in words that rhyme. Lines 3 and 4 also rhyme.
Here's an example I wrote specially for this article. The drawings are also my own work.
There once was a cute Easter Bunny,
Who thought it incredibly funny,
To stand on his legs
And juggle boiled eggs,
Until they turned out to be runny!
How Did Limericks Get Their Name?
Limericks were apparently named after the town of Limerick in Ireland. My source doesn't say why.
This next one I remember from when I was a child. It's a spoof Limerick, which means it's anything but, which is probably why I can't get it out of my head. Nothing to do with Easter anyway.
There once was an old Chinee,
Who was stung on the end of his nose by a wasp.
When asked if it hurt,
He said, "No, not very much,
But if it does it again I will swat the darn thing!!"
I think, as kids, we fell about laughing because it starts off sounding like a Limerick, but then tails off into rubbish that neither scans nor rhymes!
Little things please little minds!
STOP PRESS! April Fool's Day
Specially written just before Easter on 1st April 2012
This is not particularly good. I just dashed it off before breakfast when I realised it was April Fool's Day ... Well, it seemed like a good idea at the time!
There once was a young April Fool,
Who went out dressed up as a ghoul.
He boo'ed on this bloke,
Who did NOT get the joke,
And punched him for being so cruel!
Anyone else feel inspired?
Limericks ... Love 'em or Hate 'em?
Take the poll. Then maybe show us what you can do. Write a quick Limerick about HubPages, or anything else that comes to mind, and share it in the comments section below:-
What do you think about Limericks?
Now for some Serious Poetry
This poem is by Oscar Wilde
On Easter Day
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 splendor 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."
Oscar Wilde 1854-1900
This is my favourite poem here. It rhymes, it scans, its message is plain. I was brought up to believe all poetry should be like this.
Oscar Wilde was born in Ireland in 1854. Educated in the Classics at Dublin and Oxford, he became a writer and poet. He moved to London and became one of the most popular playwrights in the 1890s. He was a flamboyant dresser and well-known wit. Unfortunately his lifestyle and beliefs led to arrest, trial and imprisonment. He died destitute in Paris in 1905 at the age of only forty-six.
This poem and the three that follow by Charles Kingsley, William Barnes and William Wordsworth were found on www.poemhunter.com which is an amazing searchable source of poetry both ancient and modern. Their database contains nearly 800,000 poems from nearly 80,000 poets.
Another Serious Poem
This one is almost like a Hymn
See the land, her Easter keeping,
Rises as her Maker rose.
Seeds, so long in darkness sleeping,
Burst at last from winter snows.
Earth with heaven above rejoices;
Fields and gardens hail the spring;
Shaughs and woodlands ring with voices,
While the wild birds build and sing.
You, to whom your Maker granted
Powers to those sweet birds unknown,
Use the craft by God implanted;
Use the reason not your own.
Here, while heaven and earth rejoices,
Each his Easter tribute bring-
Work of fingers, chant of voices,
Like the birds who build and sing.
Charles Kingsley 1819-1875
This poem scans like a Hymn. Every time I read it, I feel an overwhelming urge to sing it to the tune of one of the many Hymns I learned as a child.
Charles Kingsley was born in Devon, England, in 1918. He studied at Kings College, London, and at Cambridge University, before becoming a Church of England priest. He was later awarded a professorship at Cambridge. As a renowned novelist, he was also a champion of the Natural Sciences, Literature and Art. His best known and most loved book is his classic, The Water Babies (1863). Kingsley died in 1875 aged 55.
Read more about Charles Kingsley at: en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Charles_Kingsley
A Serious Poet, Having Fun at Easter
William Barnes, in his native Dorset dialect.
Last Easter Jim put on his blue
Frock cwoat, the vu'st time-vier new;
Wi' yollow buttons all o' brass,
That glitter'd in the zun lik' glass;
An' pok'd 'ithin the button-hole
A tutty he'd a-begg'd or stole.
A span-new wes-co't, too, he wore,
Wi' yellow stripes all down avore;
An' tied his breeches' lags below
The knee, wi' ribbon in a bow;
An' drow'd his kitty-boots azide,
An' put his laggens on, an' tied
His shoes wi' strings two vingers wide,
Because 'twer Easter Zunday.
An' after mornen church wer out
He come back hwome, an' stroll'd about
All down the vields, an' drough the leane,
Wi' sister Kit an' cousin Jeane,
A-turnen proudly to their view
His yollow breast an' back o' blue.
The lambs did play, the grounds wer green,
The trees did bud, the zun did sheen;
The lark did zing below the sky,
An' roads wer all a-blown so dry,
As if the zummer wer begun;
An' he had sich a bit o' fun!
He meade the maidens squeal an' run,
Because 'twer Easter Zunday.
William Barnes 1801-1886
I love this poem. It can only be read properly by affecting a deep growly Dorset accent, and imagining oneself to be a wizened old farm worker.
William Barnes was born in Dorset, England, in 1801 and entered the Church at the age of 46. In his life time as a writer and poet he produced some 800 poems, mostly written in his later years as a priest. A few of his poems were written in the local country dialect of his beloved Dorset, as is the poem I chose for this Easter article. Barnes was a philologist and studied the interaction between literature, history and linguistics. He died in 1886 at the age of 85, a very considerable age for his time.
Read more about William Barnes at: en.wikipedia.org/wiki/William_Barnes
This Poem Doesn't Actually Mention Easter, but it's Very Apt.
I Wandered Lonely As A Cloud
I wandered lonely as a cloud
That floats on high o'er vales and hills,
When all at once I saw a crowd,
A host, of golden daffodils;
Beside the lake, beneath the trees,
Fluttering and dancing in the breeze.
Continuous as the stars that shine
And twinkle on the milky way,
They stretched in never-ending line
Along the margin of a bay:
Ten thousand saw I at a glance,
Tossing their heads in sprightly dance.
The waves beside them danced; but they
Out-did the sparkling waves in glee:
A poet could not but be gay,
In such a jocund company:
I gazed---and gazed---but little thought
What wealth the show to me had brought:
For oft, when on my couch I lie
In vacant or in pensive mood,
They flash upon that inward eye
Which is the bliss of solitude;
And then my heart with pleasure fills,
And dances with the daffodils.
William Wordsworth 1770-1850
This poem is one of those for which almost everyone knows the first two or three lines. I think daffodils remind most people of Easter.
William Wordsworth was born and grew up in the beautiful Lake District in Cumberland, England, and often returned to that part of the country for holidays and walks through the stunning landscape around the Lakes, where it is said he was inspired to write the poem Daffodils better known as I Wandered Lonely As A Cloud.
Read more about Wordsworth at: en.wikipedia.org/wiki/William_Wordsworth
Easter Sentiments in Greetings Cards
One of the things I did in my mis-spent youth.
One of my first jobs in the 1960s was with a greetings card manufacturer. I discovered that the verses inside the cards were often written and sent in by little old ladies, who were paid a shilling a line for any that were accepted. In those days a shilling (5p or GBP 0.05) was worth having so I decided to have a go myself. The following is the sort of thing I churned out to earn a bit of beer money:
This little card is sent to say
How much you're loved this Easter Day.
These Easter wishes just for you
Are meant to last the whole year through.
Greetings cards were rather more bland in the 1960s. There weren't many funny ones, and those that were supposed to be humorous were a bit naff! And humour certainly did not stretch to Easter sentiments! Even today you can joke about Christmas but not Easter, and yet they are both religious festivals in origin.
And Finally ...
I learned this as a child.
This is almost an ancient nursery rhyme. I don't know where I got it from but it seems I've known it all my life. It's kind of Eastery.
Spring is sprung.
The grass is riz.
I wonder where the birdies is?
Some say the bird is on the wing,
But that's absurd!
Surely the wing is on the bird?!
I tried some online research for this little ditty. A couple of sources suggested the author was Ogden Nash but nobody is sure, and most generally agree it is anonymous. I believe I remember in my pre-teen years, hearing Spike Milligan recite it as Eccles on a 1950s Goon Show on radio, but I don't think he wrote it. It had been around longer than that. Some people claim they heard an American version in a Marx Brothers film (1940s?) where the birds are referred to as "boidies".
Its origins remain a mystery ... Unless YOU know better!