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Paschal

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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

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

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Paschal

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