15 April 2006

Sonnet for Easter Saturday

Goglotha: The cliff face outside of the Garden Tomb, which resembles a skull.

I have always been fascinated with what the disciples must have felt on that day their Lord lay in the tomb: their despair, their feelings of betrayal, their denial, and maybe their hope?

Easter Saturday

Outside the rock, before the stone, we wait.
The sight of blood on gibbet silhouettes,
the images of spears and dice, remain,
and anguish does not fade although the weight
of daytime darkness lifted and this light
of sunbeams seems too bright for sorrow’s fading
frenzy, seems too thin for grieving fear:
garish, gilded, superficial light.
Inside the rock, behind the stone, You wait.
Your earth-suit wears the contours of its cloth,
which does not rise and fall with breath. Your self,
Your spirit-soul —- where does it wait?
This silence galls our listening and wounds
our waiting. Hope, poor fool, finds quiet in a tomb.

~ Admonit


Tobiah said...


All in two sentences! Goodness! Really effective at the end. My friend once said she liked the ends of poems best. I think I agree. If you don't mind can I suggest that your poem be read at a poetry reading called "Poetry under the Stars" that's happening here next Friday? After your description of stars I looked at Hopkins "The Starlight Night." Not really the same at all, except in intensity.

Iambic Admonit said...

The Starlight Night

LOOK at the stars! look, look up at the skies!
O look at all the fire-folk sitting in the air!
The bright boroughs, the circle-citadels there!
Down in dim woods the diamond delves! the elves’-eyes!
The grey lawns cold where gold, where quickgold lies! 5
Wind-beat whitebeam! airy abeles set on a flare!
Flake-doves sent floating forth at a farmyard scare!—
Ah well! it is all a purchase, all is a prize.
Buy then! bid then!—What?—Prayer, patience, aims, vows.
Look, look: a May-mess, like on orchard boughs! 10
Look! March-bloom, like on mealed-with-yellow sallows!
These are indeed the barn; withindoors house
The shocks. This piece-bright paling shuts the spouse
Christ home, Christ and his mother and all his hallows.

--Gerard Manley Hopkins

Iambic Admonit said...

Tobiah! So glad you wrote. I’d love to read at the “Stars” reading; sounds dreamy and paradisiacal. Where is “here” right now for you? Kentucky? Um, sorry, I might not make it.  But if someone, especially you, would like to read it there, that’s great! Let me know how it goes.
Thanks for your kind comments. I like the ends of poems best, too: I often think of the couplet first, and make the sonnet up to it. I love Shakespeare’s couplets, how succinct and memorable they are, and I love how Millay often turns her poem in the last line or two. Such lines as “my tall, oblivious gaoler eyed with stars” and “if I survive this anguish (and men do)/ I shall have only good to say of you” and “Look what I have! And these are all for you.” That one needs the context: ” Not in a silver casket cool with pearls”.
And then I often get a good first quatrain, and really struggle with the rest. Don’t know why that is. It’s a weakness I’m working on. Thank you for the generous comparison to Hopkins!

Iambic Admonit said...

By the way, I'm assuming these comments actually refer to the previous post, the Good Friday sonnet?