Monday, 22 April 2019

Poetry Revisited: Easter by Emily Pauline Johnson


(from The White Wampum: 1895)

April 1, 1888

Lent gathers up her cloak of sombre shading
          In her reluctant hands.
Her beauty heightens, fairest in its fading,
          As pensively she stands
Awaiting Easter’s benediction falling,
          Like silver stars at night,
Before she can obey the summons calling
          Her to her upward flight,
Awaiting Easter’s wings that she must borrow
          Ere she can hope to fly—
Those glorious wings that we shall see to-morrow
          Against the far, blue sky.
Has not the purple of her vesture’s lining
          Brought calm and rest to all?
Has her dark robe had naught of golden shining
          Been naught but pleasure’s pall?
Who knows? Perhaps when to the world returning
          In youth’s light joyousness,
We’ll wear some rarer jewels we found burning
          In Lent’s black-bordered dress.
So hand in hand with fitful March she lingers
          To beg the crowning grace
Of lifting with her pure and holy fingers
          The veil from April’s face.
Sweet, rosy April—laughing, sighing, waiting
          Until the gateway swings,
And she and Lent can kiss between the grating
          Of Easter’s tissue wings.
Too brief the bliss—the parting comes with sorrow.
          Good-bye dear Lent, good-bye!
We’ll watch your fading wings outlined to-morrow
          Against the far blue sky.

Emily Pauline Johnson (1861-1913)
Canadian writer and performer

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