Festus Claudius McKay (1889-1948), better known as Claude McKay, was a Jamaican-American writer and an important poet in the Harlem Renaissance which also included Langston Hughes. McKay was an atheist (‘a pagan’, as he himself puts it), but one who could enjoy the scent of the Easter lily though he cannot believe in the Easter story. This is what ‘The Easter Flower’ is about.
The Easter Flower
Far from this foreign Easter damp and chilly
My soul steals to a pear-shaped plot of ground,
Where gleamed the lilac-tinted Easter lily
Soft-scented in the air for yards around; Read the rest of this entry
This wonderful little-known poem from one of English literature’s greatest nature poets isn’t available online anywhere, so we’ve reproduced it below as the latest in our ‘Post A Poem A Day’ challenge. In the poem, John Clare (1793-1864) extols the virtue of home as a place to return to at the end of a hard day, a place of comfort and belonging. The poem’s form deftly reflects this, with the last line of each stanza returning to home – i.e. by ending on the very word ‘home’.
Muses no more what ere ye be
In fancys pleasures roam
But sing (by truth inspir’d) wi’ me
The pleasures of a home Read the rest of this entry
‘Upon Appleton House’ is an example of a ‘country house poem’. Andrew Marvell (1621-78) wrote the poem for Thomas Fairfax, the father of the girl he was tutoring in the early 1650s, just after the end of the English Civil War, and the poem reflects many of the contemporary political issues of the mid-seventeenth century. ‘Appleton House’ is the Nun Appleton estate belonging to Fairfax in Yorkshire.
Upon Appleton House
Within this sober Frame expect
Work of no Forrain Architect;
That unto Caves the Quarries drew,
And Forrests did to Pastures hew; Read the rest of this entry