Discuss the form and poetic qualities of “Easter Wings”
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This poem appears to be a dramatic monologue, spoken by the character at a moment when he/she was approaching death. Using key terms within the last stanza, we can infer the speaker is approaching death. Therefore, the tone of the poem should be that of sadness or despair, but as one can see, the speaker is trying to convey hope towards the end of the poem (representing the end of life). The rhyme scheme is identical in both stanzas; however, it does not follow any standard pattern. The rhyming sequence is unique. If counting the lines, all of the even numbered lines from the second stanza follow the same rhyme sequence as the first stanza. In addition, the first three odd lines of each stanza rhyme with themselves, but lines seven and nine of each stanza rhyme with each other, independent of the other odd lines.
As far as poetic qualities, the poem “Easter Wings” is full of allusions and symbolism. Starting with the title, we can see reference to Easter and Christianity. Within the Christian religion, Easter is a key occasion for those who believe. Not only is the word “Easter” in the title, but we also see the word “wings.” In reference to Easter, the wings are significant to those of the angels that were present on Easter morning, the resurrection of Christ. The first line of the poem backs up the allusion of using religion, as we can see the word “Lord” and the reference to the creation of man. The middle line of each stanza is the same, “With thee.” Once again, using allusions, we can see an inference to the Christian faith, and the idea that the Lord is always “With thee.” Another example of the author using an allusion occurs in line seven, “Oh, let me rise.” The story of Easter revolves around the “rise” of Christ; therefore, we can see the constant reference to religion throughout the poem.
In addition to allusion, the author uses symbolism to further express his poems’ hidden meaning. At first glance, one might notice the shape of what appears to be a set of butterflies. Upon further comparison, we can see that the first “butterfly” has an almost perfect shape compared to that of the second butterfly. Using symbolism, the author portrays two images within the “butterflies.” The first symbolizes the life of Christ, perfect, resulting in the perfect shape of the butterfly. The second use of symbolism is the other “butterfly,” which represents the life of the average man/woman, thus resulting in an imperfect shape. The two “butterflies” are together, symbolizing the joining of the life of Christ with the life of man, as he was human while on earth. Going back to the rhyming sequence, in each stanza there are two sets of three lines that rhyme, symbolizing the number thirty-three, which was the age that Christ was crucified and resurrected at Easter. In addition, the sets of three symbolize the three days Christ was in the tomb prior to his resurrection.