A powerful Easter poem by one of the most famous atheist poets
The poet A. E. Housman (1859-1936) published just two volumes of poems in his lifetime: A Shropshire Lad (1896) and Last Poems (1922). Yet he remains one of the most widely-read poets of his era, on the strength of these two books and a selection of posthumously published poems. ‘Easter Hymn’ opens More Poems, which was published shortly after Housman’s death in 1936.
If in that Syrian garden, ages slain,
You sleep, and know not you are dead in vain,
Nor even in dreams behold how dark and bright
Ascends in smoke and fire by day and night
The hate you died to quench and could but fan,
Sleep well and see no morning, son of man.
But if, the grave rent and the stone rolled by, Read the rest of this entry
The meaning of Poe’s poem of solitude
Edgar Allan Poe (1809-49) wrote ‘Alone’ when he was still very young – only 21 years of age. The poem remained unpublished until 1875, over a quarter of a century after Poe’s death. The sentiment is, indeed, something that many of us can relate to from our teenage years and youth: feeling all alone and that we are a misfit in the world around us, not just physically but emotionally alone. Here is Poe’s poem, followed by some words of analysis.
From childhood’s hour I have not been
As others were—I have not seen
As others saw—I could not bring
My passions from a common spring—
From the same source I have not taken
My sorrow—I could not awaken
My heart to joy at the same tone—
And all I lov’d—I lov’d alone— Read the rest of this entry
On one of the earliest Easter poems
As Easter approaches, we’re going to share some of our favourite Easter-themed poems over the next couple of weeks, in the run-up to Easter Day. First up, a wonderful late medieval poem. ‘Done is a battell on the dragon blak’: as opening lines go, it’s one of the most arresting. Sometimes alternately titled ‘On the Resurrection of Our Lord’, the poem is a masterpiece of Scottish medieval poetry. The author of this barn-storming opener was the medieval Scottish poet William Dunbar (c. 1465-c. 1530).
Done is a battell on the dragon blak,
Our campion Christ confoundit has his force;
The yettis of hell are broken with a crak,
The signe triumphall raisit is of the cross,
The divillis trymmillis with hiddous voce,
The saulis are borrowit and to the bliss can go,
Chyst with his bloud our ransonis dois indoce:
Surrexit Dominus de sepulchro. Read the rest of this entry