|The Disciples Peter and John Running to Sepulchre |
on the Morning of the Resurrection
by Eugene Burnand
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
Thou didst 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.
~ George Herbert ~
When I first read this wing-shaped poem, I thought it was just a clever bit of seventeenth century kitsch, and I dismissed it. That is one reason why poems should be read more than once. Later, after reading it over and over, I began to get a better sense of its movement, the beat of wings, the fall and rise of man and the death and resurrection of Christ; until, finally, the rhythm and sense of the whole beat some sense into me, and I felt the brilliance and the praise in it.
*graft; repair a damaged feather in a wing by attaching part of a new feather