Paschal

By Robert Pinsky b. 1940 Robert Pinsky
Easter was the old North   
Goddess of the dawn.   
She rises daily in the East   
And yearly in spring for the great   

Paschal candle of the sun.   
Her name lingers like a spot   
Of gravy in the figured vestment   
Of the language of the Britains.   

Her totem the randy bunny.   
Our very Thursdays and Wednesdays   
Are stained by syllables of thunder   
And Woden's frenzy.   

O my fellow-patriots loyal to this   
Our modern world of high heels,   
Vaccination, brain surgery—   
May they pass over us, the old   

Jovial raptors, Apollonian flayers,   
Embodiments. Egg-hunt,   
Crucifixion. Supper of encrypted   
Dishes: bitter, unrisen, a platter   

Compass of martyrdom,   
Ground-up apples and walnuts   
In sweet wine to embody mortar   
Of affliction, babies for bricks.   

Legible traces of the species   
That devises the angel of death   
Sailing over our doorpost   
Smeared with sacrifice.

Source: Poetry (October 2002).

MORE FROM THIS ISSUE

This poem originally appeared in the October 2002 issue of Poetry magazine

View this poem in its original format

October 2002
 Robert  Pinsky

Biography

Robert Pinsky is one of America’s foremost poet-critics. Often called the last of the “civic” or public poets, Pinsky’s criticism and verse reflect his concern for a contemporary poetic diction that nonetheless speaks of a wider experience. Elected Poet Laureate of the United States in 1997, his tenure was marked by ambitious efforts to prove the power of poetry—not just as an intellectual pursuit in the ivory tower, but as a . . .

Continue reading this biography

Poem Categorization

SUBJECT Religion, Other Religions, History & Politics, Social Commentaries, Mythology & Folklore, The Spiritual

POET’S REGION U.S., New England

Poetic Terms Imagery, Metaphor, Mixed

Report a problem with this poem


Your results will be limited to content that appeared in Poetry magazine.

Search Every Issue of Poetry

Originally appeared in Poetry magazine.

This poem has learning resources.

This poem is good for children.

This poem has related video.

This poem has related audio.