Weekend Contest: The Greatest Easter Art and Literature

 

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Ricochet, you’ve very narrowly been spared. Our discussion of the framework nuclear deal with Iran led to a suggestion by our resident curmudgeon Ball Diamond Ball that I carefully re-consider the work of Saul Alinsky for insight. I was game, and I was even on the verge of opening our weekend literature contest to those who wished to spend it reading Alinsky and tracing his influence on the Obama Administration.

Then it occurred to me that this could not possibly be how anyone on Ricochet would wish to spend this weekend. (I know for sure I don’t.) Please correct me if I’m mistaken, but I suspect we would all prefer to spend it with a great work of art or literature more suitable to the Easter holiday.

So our weekend contest is now open. In fact, this weekend, we will hold two contests simultaneously.

Contest I:

Please submit your entry for the most beautiful work of literature in the English language inspired by Easter. This is an English literature contest, and open to Ricochet members of all faiths or none. Thus one rule: nothing in translation. Not even the Bible, I’m afraid. No Goethe, no Tolstoy, etc. But any Anglophone evocation of Easter–fiction, non-fiction, poetry, prose, from any period–is eligible.

The Ricochet Glory in Literature Badge will be assigned to the member who:

a) Nominates and cites the greatest English-language work of literature inspired by Easter; and

b) Makes the most effective case that this entry nominated is, indeed, the greatest work of literature in the English language inspired by Easter.

Contest II:

The Ricochet Glory in Art Badge awaits the Ricochet member who:

a) identifies the painting above;

b) and identifies the English-language essay that most famously describes it;

c) and makes the case that the author was correct;

d) or makes the case that the author was incorrect. In doing so, you must offer a better suggestion, and defend your case for it.

I wish everyone on Ricochet a glorious weekend of contemplating the beautiful, the sublime, and the inspired.

 

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  1. MLH Inactive
    MLH
    @MLH

    Claire Berlinski:

    MLH:

    Claire Berlinski:

    Claire, start with these

    simple eggs

    Progess to these.

    czech eggs

    If easy, go for the Faberge!

    I feel that you’re challenging my crafting skills. I knew how to get the innards out of an egg and dye it with food-coloring by the age of six, I’ll have you know. I truly don’t feel that Easter eggs would be an age-appropriate thing for me to make now unless glitter, rhinestones, and gold spray paint were involved. (I’m regretting that I didn’t stock up on crafting supplies. It’s not as if I could justify doing that to prove a point on any other day of the year, is it?)

    As one who has never been very good at the coloring of the eggs,  I’m not challenging your crafting (crafty?) skills. But, come on, the Faberge Imperial Eggs are art, not craft.

    • #61
  2. Midget Faded Rattlesnake Contributor
    Midget Faded Rattlesnake
    @Midge

    Claire Berlinski:

    I truly don’t feel that Easter eggs would be an age-appropriate thing for me to make now unless glitter, rhinestones, and gold spray paint were involved.

    We-ell… my family, full of tech geeks who are secretly frustrated artists, doesn’t get into the glitter. But we have fallen into a tradition of using wax- and tape-resist to make absurdly elaborate Easter eggs on Easter afternoon. (Turns out it’s far more relaxing than the alternate family tradition: bickering.)

    Here are some basic tape-resist eggs. We get a bit funkier with our designs, but this’ll give you the general idea:

    c2dfbe0560637574239e8c924b77d102

    • #62
  3. MJBubba Inactive
    MJBubba
    @MJBubba

    Claire Berlinski:

    notmarx:

    I’m not a Christian, obviously, but I do consider this my Western heritage. “Explosive weirdness” is the perfect description. These paintings are as familiar to me as my mother’s face, but they have an enormous power to shock me, all the same. What a weird religion!

    My sense is that everyone on this thread is a devout Christian, except for me. Is it possible that others are so uncomfortable with these depictions that they don’t even want to talk about it?

    chagall-e1380127581463 (1)

    The Resurrection of Christ continues to be the central question that faces all humanity.   If Jesus really did rise, that changes everything.   Almost a third of earth’s population claim to believe.   The rest of the world is hostile to Christ to either a lesser or greater degree.

    The scandal is that our holy G-d was willing to send that part of Himself that He calls His Son to become a man, to give Himself as the one perfect sacrifice that would completely fulfill the need for all those atoning sacrifices that G-d had instructed Moses.   “For there can be no atonement for sin without the shedding of blood.”

    I think some of our Ricochet members will not participate in this thread;  they are too polite to stir up their Atheist stuff on our blessed holy day.

    We can engage with them on some other day.

    Thanks very much for this post.

    He is risen !

    This one was not composed originally in English, but it is one of my favorites.  They sing it slower than I think it should go, but you can make out the words better when it is slowed down:

    http://www.oremus.org/hymnal/t/t368.html

    • #63
  4. Claire Berlinski Editor
    Claire Berlinski
    @Claire

    MLH:

    But, come on, the Faberge Imperial Eggs are art, not craft.

    I’m not sure that we’ll readily come up with a definition of one that excludes the other. At least, perhaps, not here. But I’m curious: why you think they go firmly in the art category? Do you think there’s a firm dividing line?

    I do think they would be much easier to imitate than, say Caravaggio. I wonder if that’s what I mean when I use the word “craft?”

    • #64
  5. Claire Berlinski Editor
    Claire Berlinski
    @Claire

    Midget Faded Rattlesnake:

    c2dfbe0560637574239e8c924b77d102

    Looks like you’re a family of hard-boilers? (I’ve never fully understood the hard-boiling tradition. Practically the best part of it is getting the insides out. What’s the appeal of this shortcut?)

    • #65
  6. Midget Faded Rattlesnake Contributor
    Midget Faded Rattlesnake
    @Midge

    Claire Berlinski:

    Looks like you’re a family of hard-boilers? (I’ve never fully understood the hard-boiling tradition. Practically the best part of it is getting the insides out. What’s the appeal of this shortcut?)

    We’ve always done hard-boiling, because the eggs were first intended to be eaten, rather than looked at.

    Getting crafty as an alternative to bickering is a recent innovation. Though we think of it as the tradition now, it wasn’t always. The old tradition was for parents to boil a mess of eggs, give them a basic dye-job, then hide them all over the yard for the kids to find – or not. Found eggs went into egg salad. The substantial quantity of eggs hid but not found on Easter Sunday simply stayed out in the warm spring sun to ripen. As the kids got older, and parents and kids alike got sick of finding old eggs out in the yard in July and August, stinking up the place, we changed to decorating, rather than hunting for, the Easter eggs.

    I believe the first substitution of decorating for hunting came one spring where everything was going wrong, and we simply ran out of time to color the eggs before Sunday. But they were already boiled. And they remain boiled. I could say that elaborately decorating a hard-boiled egg that’s later peeled to be eaten is a poignant metaphor for the fleeting fragility of life and beauty. But really it’s because Mom keeps boiling the eggs.

    • #66
  7. Claire Berlinski Editor
    Claire Berlinski
    @Claire

    Midget Faded Rattlesnake:

    We’ve always done hard-boiling, because the eggs were first intended to be eaten, rather than looked at.

    Lest anyone think the hard-boiled option represents “rugged and sensible,” I note that in my family, we extracted the egg-innards and immediately scrambled them, like practical people. And ate them. None of this effete, “leaving the eggs in the garden to waste” business. (And the innards come out pre-scrambled, so obviously, we had no truck with mousses, soufflés, or merengues–Easter=scrambled eggs with ketchup.)

    • #67
  8. Gödel's Ghost Inactive
    Gödel's Ghost
    @GreatGhostofGodel

    By the way, to get back to the main point: the best English literature I know, inspired by the Christian Easter story, remains…

    The Lord of the Ring.

    • #68
  9. Midget Faded Rattlesnake Contributor
    Midget Faded Rattlesnake
    @Midge

    Claire Berlinski:

    Midget Faded Rattlesnake:

    We’ve always done hard-boiling, because the eggs were first intended to be eaten, rather than looked at.

    Lest anyone think the hard-boiled option represents “rugged and sensible,” I note that in my family, we extracted the egg-innards and immediately scrambled them, like practical people. And ate them. None of this effete, “leaving the eggs in the garden to waste” business. (And the innards come out pre-scrambled, so obviously, we had no truck with mousses, soufflés, or merengues–Easter=scrambled eggs with ketchup.)

    I don’t dispute the practicality of blowing, then scrambling, the eggs, if you like scrambled eggs. My parents, for whatever reason, preferred boiled. And boiled they shall remain for the foreseeable future.

    Perhaps one day, our tradition will again alter to include blown rather than boiled eggs. But Burke and Hayek would understand why our tradition hasn’t changed all at once, even if making those changes all at once would strike a centralized observer as more rational ;-)

    • #69
  10. user_233532 Thatcher
    user_233532
    @NancySpalding

    I grew up with boiled, and otherwise never occurred to me, though we experimented with many different ways of decorating them as I & my siblings grew! However, my most delightful memory of Easter egg hunts was Spring 1987, my daughter was 9, and we were living in a place with both warm weather & access to a lovely enclosed (central plaza) garden & play area… I decorated the eggs after she was in bed, then hid them around the garden. She loved the game so much she hid them for me to find, then had me hide them again for her to find… Repeated iterations until it was time to get ready for church! Perhaps I should warn her about this possibility before her daughter is old enough…

    • #70
  11. notmarx Member
    notmarx
    @notmarx

    Midget Faded Rattlesnake:

    notmarx:I can’t help speculating that the man who wrote Sunday Morning opens a question in it that he can only answer when he has to, at the very end of his life. I don’t know another poem whose unconscious subtext is stronger than what it actually says, and I don’t think that the poem was intended to accomplish that odd feat; but because the poem gets somehow on the page, in a way that, like all real poetry, rises up off the page, that perdurable, irresistible question, if unwittingly, it is for me, the great Easter poem.

    Ooh, Stevens! His poem “The Red Fern” is also a lovely description of the unfamiliarity of the dawn, and so also topical for Easter, the strangest dawn of all:

    THE RED FERN

    The large-leaved day grows rapidly, And opens in this familiar spot Its unfamiliar, difficult fern, Pushing and pushing red after red.

    There are doubles of this fern in the clouds, Less firm than the paternal flame, Yet drenched with its identity, Reflections and off-shoots, mimic-motes

    And mist-mites, dangling seconds, grown Beyond relation to the parent trunk: The dazzling, bulging, brightest core, The furiously burning father-fire . . .

    Infant, it is enough in life To speak of what you see. But wait Until sight wakens the sleepy eye And pierces the physical fix of things.

    Gorgeous Stevens.  And if I ever read it before, I forgot it.  Thanks.  But you see what I mean? The guy was Catholic long before he knew it, or admitted it.

    • #71
  12. Midget Faded Rattlesnake Contributor
    Midget Faded Rattlesnake
    @Midge

    How could this poem have slipped my mind?!:

    Light breaks where no sun shines;
    Where no sea runs, the waters of the heart
    Push in their tides;
    And, broken ghosts with glowworms in their heads,
    The things of light
    File through the flesh where no flesh decks the bones.

    A candle in the thighs
    Warms youth and seed and burns the seeds of age;
    Where no seed stirs,
    The fruit of man unwrinkles in the stars,
    Bright as a fig;
    Where no wax is, the candle shows its hairs.

    Dawn breaks behind the eyes;
    From poles of skull and toe the windy blood
    Slides like a sea;
    Nor fenced, nor staked, the gushers of the sky
    Spout to the rod
    Divining in a smile the oil of tears.

    Night in the sockets rounds,
    Like some pitch moon, the limit of the globes;
    Day lights the bone;
    Where no cold is, the skinning gales unpin
    The winter’s robes;
    The film of spring is hanging from the lids.

    Light breaks on secret lots,
    On tips of thought where thoughts smell in the rain;
    When logics die,
    The secret of the soil grows through the eye,
    And blood jumps in the sun;
    Above the waste allotments the dawn halts.

    – Dylan Thomas

    The dawn halts. Again, the Easter dawn that lasts forever. Light and rebirth even in the teeth of death, even when logics die.

    • #72
  13. user_517406 Inactive
    user_517406
    @MerinaSmith

    Midget Faded Rattlesnake:

    Claire Berlinski:

    I truly don’t feel that Easter eggs would be an age-appropriate thing for me to make now unless glitter, rhinestones, and gold spray paint were involved.

    We-ell… my family, full of tech geeks who are secretly frustrated artists, doesn’t get into the glitter. But we have fallen into a tradition of using wax- and tape-resist to make absurdly elaborate Easter eggs on Easter afternoon. (Turns out it’s far more relaxing than the alternate family tradition: bickering.)

    Here are some basic tape-resist eggs. We get a bit funkier with our designs, but this’ll give you the general idea:

    c2dfbe0560637574239e8c924b77d102

    These are beautiful, Midge.  How do you make them?  Next time I’m with my grandkids on Easter, this is happening.

    • #73
  14. Ricochet Contributor
    Ricochet
    @TitusTechera

    Merina Smith:A Hymn to God the FatherWilt thou forgive that sin where I begun,

    Which was my sin, though it were done before?

    Wilt thou forgive that sin, through which I run,

    And do run still, though still I do deplore?

    When thou hast done, thou hast not done,

    For I have more.

    Wilt thou forgive that sin which I have won

    Others to sin, and made my sin their door?

    Wilt thou forgive that sin which I did shun

    A year or two, but wallow’d in, a score?

    When thou hast done, thou hast not done,

    For I have more.

    I have a sin of fear, that when I have spun

    My last thread, I shall perish on the shore;

    But swear by thyself, that at my death thy Son

    Shall shine as he shines now, and heretofore;

    And, having done that, thou hast done;

    I fear no more.

    ‘When thou hast done’ should mean, first of all, when God is done forgiving. That’s the q & a structure of the stanzas. It seems the problem here is, how could we be forgiven by God when we are not willing to be done with sin? Sin is an ongoing concern, we tend to think of forgiveness as part of managing sin–the economy of sin, not leaving sin behind & trusting in God instead. Sin is just too much fun or not sinning is too much of a drag. As Donne suggests, sin is such a great way to meet people & damn them, too! It seems like the main selling point of faith in God is immortality. In one sense, when man is done sinning, he is done because he is too afraid of death. After fear & trembling comes repentance.

    • #74
  15. notmarx Member
    notmarx
    @notmarx

    It’s within the Easter Octave; at this morning’s Mass we said the Gloria, and chanted the Alleluia before the Gospel.  The New Testament reading was from Acts: Peter, with his brother apostles alongside, testifying to the Resurrection (in tongues) to the throng in Jerusalem there for the Feast of Weeks.  Pretty thrilling stuff.

    So it’s not out of time to add a couple of poems – by living American poets – to the thread and to Dylan Thomas’ glorious Apocalypse that the Midget Faded Rattlesnake’s gifted us with.

    *

    Yikes.  Don’t know what I’m doing wrong.  I’m glad I saved this to a Word document before I clicked POST COMMENT.  (Maybe Ricochet’s subconscious is rising in protest against citations of poetry.)

    *

    It’s within the Easter Octave; at this morning’s Mass we said the Gloria, and chanted the Alleluia before the Gospel.  The New Testament reading was from Acts: Peter, with his brother other apostles alongside, testifying to the Resurrection (in tongues) to the throng in Jerusalem there for the Feast of Weeks.  Pretty thrilling stuff. 

    So it’s not out of time to add a couple of poems – by living American poets – to the thread  and to Dylan Thomas’ glorious Apocalypse that the Midget Faded Rattlesnake’s gifted us with.  

    Mary Karr’s more famous as a memoirist. She’s a Catholic convert from a devoted alcoholism.  This version is from the Poetry Foundation website.  A modestly different version is in her book of poems, Sinners Welcome.  I think I prefer this version; but I might not tomorrow.  Sinners Welcome’s afterword is a prose account of her conversion.  She evidently received some grief from the “poetry community” for it.  But she’s a Texan, who kinda writes with her dukes up, so it’s hard to tell.  This poem I’d place alongside Grunewald’s painting, as somehow keeping alive the shock of the event.  

    The Andrew Hudgins’ poem I found in Harold Bloom’s Library of America anthology, American Religious Poems.  It calls to mind for me this image from Durer //www.wikiart.org/en/albrecht-durer/christ-appears-to-mary-magdalene-1511 – which I liked so much when it appeared as the cover of Mount Calvary’s weekly bulletin I cut it out and pasted it to the wall.  

    *

    Descending Theology: The Resurrection

      

    From the far star points of his pinned extremities,

    cold inched in—black ice and squid ink—

    till the hung flesh was empty.

    Lonely in that void even for pain,

    he missed his splintered feet,

    the human stare buried in his face.

    He ached for two hands made of meat

    he could reach to the end of.

    In the corpse’s core, the stone fist

    of his heart began to bang

    on the stiff chest’s door, and breath spilled

    back into that battered shape. Now

     

    it’s your limbs he comes to fill, as warm water

    shatters at birth, rivering every way.

     

     

    [Mary Karr]

    ***

    Christ as a Gardener

     

    The boxwoods planted in the park spell LIVE.

    I never noticed it until they died.

    Before, the entwined green had smudged the word

    unreadable. And when they take their own advice

    again—come spring, come Easter—no one will know

    a word is buried in the leaves. I love the way

    that Mary thought her resurrected Lord

    a gardener. It wasn’t just the broad-brimmed hat

    and muddy robe that fooled her: he was that changed.

    He looks across the unturned field, the riot

    of unscythed grass, the smattering of wildflowers.

    Before he can stop himself, he’s on his knees.

    He roots up stubborn weeds, pinches the suckers,

    deciding order here—what lives, what dies,

    and how. But it goes deeper even than that.

    His hands burn and his bare feet smolder. He longs

    to lie down inside the long, dew-moist furrows

    and press his pierced side and broken forehead

    into the dirt. But he’s already done it—

    passed through one death and out the other side.

    He laughs. He kicks his bright spade in the earth

    and turns it over. Spring flashes by, then harvest.

    Beneath his feet, seeds dance into the air.

    They rise, and he, not noticing, ascends

    on midair steppingstones of dandelion,

    of milkweed, thistle, cattail, and goldenrod.

     

     
    —Andrew Hudgins—

    • #75
  16. Midget Faded Rattlesnake Contributor
    Midget Faded Rattlesnake
    @Midge

    Merina Smith:

    Midget Faded Rattlesnake:
    c2dfbe0560637574239e8c924b77d102

    These are beautiful, Midge. How do you make them? Next time I’m with my grandkids on Easter, this is happening.

    Electrical or washi tape. Scissors. Ordinary egg dye baths.

    Eggs should be dry and room temperature. If they’re cold, moisture from the air condenses and the tape won’t stick. If the eggs are hot, the tape can leave reside behind.

    Washi tape can be convenient because it comes in a wide variety of widths, including very thin, but around here we’re cheap and use electrical tape, cutting it by hand into thin strips as needed.

    Wrap tape around the egg in a pattern of your choice. As you can see, spirals or starbursts are popular. Immerse egg in dye. Remove from dye and let dry. Once dry, remove tape and re-tape in another pattern, then dye again. Actually, removing tape is not necessary – you can just add more tape. But the eggs pictured here had tape removed before being re-taped and put in the second dye bath.

    • #76
  17. user_517406 Inactive
    user_517406
    @MerinaSmith

    Titus Techera:

    Merina Smith:A Hymn to God the FatherWilt thou forgive that sin where I begun,

    Which was my sin, though it were done before?

    Wilt thou forgive that sin, through which I run,

    And do run still, though still I do deplore?

    When thou hast done, thou hast not done,

    For I have more.

    Wilt thou forgive that sin which I have won

    Others to sin, and made my sin their door?

    Wilt thou forgive that sin which I did shun

    A year or two, but wallow’d in, a score?

    When thou hast done, thou hast not done,

    For I have more.

    I have a sin of fear, that when I have spun

    My last thread, I shall perish on the shore;

    But swear by thyself, that at my death thy Son

    Shall shine as he shines now, and heretofore;

    And, having done that, thou hast done;

    I fear no more.

    ‘When thou hast done’ should mean, first of all, when God is done forgiving. That’s the q & a structure of the stanzas. It seems the problem here is, how could we be forgiven by God when we are not willing to be done with sin? Sin is an ongoing concern, we tend to think of forgiveness as part of managing sin–the economy of sin, not leaving sin behind & trusting in God instead. Sin is just too much fun or not sinning is too much of a drag. As Donne suggests, sin is such a great way to meet people & damn them, too! It seems like the main selling point of faith in God is immortality. In one sense, when man is done sinning, he is done because he is too afraid of death. After fear & trembling comes repentance.

    In part Donne is not always willing to give up his sin, or to put it differently, he is willing at one time and then fails at another. That is a  problem for all of us in that we are utterly unable to be done with all sin.  We will sin no matter how good our intentions.  We should abandon sin with all our hearts and trust in God, but even so, we will still sin.  We must repent, but we’ll still sometimes fail. We can’t perfect ourselves no matter how hard we try.   The atonement makes up for the difference.

    • #77
  18. Ricochet Contributor
    Ricochet
    @TitusTechera

    Merina Smith:In part Donne is not always willing to give up his sin, or to put it differently, he is willing at one time and then fails at another. That is a problem for all of us in that we are utterly unable to be done with all sin. We will sin no matter how good our intentions. We should abandon sin with all our hearts and trust in God, but even so, we will still sin. We must repent, but we’ll still sometimes fail. We can’t perfect ourselves no matter how hard we try. The atonement makes up for the difference.

    I’m not sure where you see that. He does not make much of his willingness to repent or change in the future. Rather, he seems to be banking on divine forgiveness. This is supposed to show, I venture, something essential about faith–what can cure his fear is faith in God’s gift. He has no interest in promising to earn it, it would seem. In fact, he’s not really being an adult…

    • #78
  19. Midget Faded Rattlesnake Contributor
    Midget Faded Rattlesnake
    @Midge

    Titus Techera:

    He has no interest in promising to earn it, it would seem. In fact, he’s not really being an adult…

    So is the adult thing to do to make fanciful promises that you know you cannot keep? God’s forgiveness, like the gift of life, is not earned, but freely offered. We can choose to reject the gift, but accepting the gift is not the same as earning it.

    • #79
  20. Gödel's Ghost Inactive
    Gödel's Ghost
    @GreatGhostofGodel

    Titus Techera:

    This is supposed to show, I venture, something essential about faith–what can cure his fear is faith in God’s gift. He has no interest in promising to earn it, it would seem. In fact, he’s not really being an adult…

    I’m no theologian, but here’s one thing I know for a fact: if I have to earn my place in heaven, by not just repenting but actually never sinning again, you might as well stick a fork in me, right here, right now, because I’m already cooked.

    • #80
  21. Ricochet Contributor
    Ricochet
    @TitusTechera

    Midget Faded Rattlesnake:

    Titus Techera:

    He has no interest in promising to earn it, it would seem. In fact, he’s not really being an adult…

    So is the adult thing to do to make fanciful promises that you know you cannot keep? God’s forgiveness, like the gift of life, is not earned, but freely offered. We can choose to reject the gift, but accepting the gift is not the same as earning it.

    I wish you would see or say whether you think I’ve got it right as to what the man is saying, not just your here’s-me-teaching-you-theology-kid. I’m not sure I understand him correctly, but you can see how far my efforts have taken me…

    The point I am trying to make about adulthood is this, what Mrs. Smith said is the adult thing to say. But it does not seem to be what the poet said. I’d like to try to make sense of the difference.

    You’re complicating things, which is hard for me to follow, but I think you may be on to something: Maybe the poet is trying to be humble in being childish. I’m not sure I’d say that would be the adult thing to do. I still think he’s not trying very hard to mend his ways. I think we’re agreed on the great difference between emphasizing earning–I think this is what Mrs. Smith was saying–& receiving what cannot be earned–which is what you & I are saying. But should not both be there? Is there nothing strange when a man so quick to recount his failures says nothing about changing! In fact, if you consider the grammar, he’s talking to God in the imperative…

    • #81
  22. Midget Faded Rattlesnake Contributor
    Midget Faded Rattlesnake
    @Midge

    Donne was a cleric in the Anglican church. It’s reasonable, therefore, to interpret his religious poetry in light of the Christian theology that was his heritage. It’s also reasonable to expect that a failure to understand Christian theology may result in a failure to understand his poetry.

    A single poem needn’t address all aspects of life at once in order to be a good or truthful poem. This applies to religious poetry, too. In particular, a poem need not also describe the fruits of repentance (including improved behavior) in order to describe the fierce thirst for forgiveness. Even saints (perhaps especially saints, because of the delicacy of their consciences) have been tempted to despair over their endless capacity for sin. That Donne has written a poem focusing on this problem rather than a poem about the expected fruits of repentance is no indictment against Donne as a poet or Christianity as a religion.

    • #82
  23. Ricochet Contributor
    Ricochet
    @TitusTechera

    Midget Faded Rattlesnake:Donne was a cleric in the Anglican church. It’s reasonable, therefore, to interpret his religious poetry in light of the Christian theology that was his heritage.

    You do not know what he meant in advance of reading the poem, this much I can promise you–get ready for a surprise. The reasonable thing to do is to read what he’s saying & try to make sense of it. After all, if you put enough trust in your understanding of prevailing dogma then, you need not read any of his work, because it’s only going to repeat it! Give the man the chance to break with dogma–give him the benefit of the doubt–entertain the suspicion that he was cruising for a damnation! A man may reject his heritage, in whole or in part, & up until you read what he says, you cannot know…

    It’s also reasonable to expect that a failure to understand Christian theology may result in a failure to understand his poetry.

    Is this you trying to say I did not get his meaning? But what did he say that I did not get? It’s easy to dismiss me or my reading wholesale–I’d like to see a specific reason that has to do with this poem.

    A single poem needn’t address all aspects of life at once in order to be a good or truthful poem.

    Sure, but I’m not bringing all aspects of life at once. I’m bringing in, to the best of my ability, only what the poet brought in, & only in that poem.

    • #83
  24. Midget Faded Rattlesnake Contributor
    Midget Faded Rattlesnake
    @Midge

    Titus Techera:

    The reasonable thing to do is to read what he’s saying & try to make sense of it. After all, if you put enough trust in your understanding of prevailing dogma then, you need not read any of his work, because it’s only going to repeat it!… A man may reject his heritage, in whole or in part, & up until you read what he says, you cannot know…

    Please give me the benefit of the doubt that I actually have done the reasonable thing and do read the poems I comment on.

    Give the man the chance to break with dogma–give him the benefit of the doubt–entertain the suspicion that he was cruising for a damnation!

    For a Christian to entertain the suspicion that he’s cruising for damnation is hardly breaking with dogma. Harboring that suspicion is a fairly normal part of Christian life, whether we harbor it on our own or a poet’s behalf.

    It is perfectly possible to find and appreciate poetry that approaches Christianity from an unorthodox perspective. This particular poem of Donne’s, though, is quite orthodox.

    • #84
  25. Ricochet Contributor
    Ricochet
    @TitusTechera

    Midget Faded Rattlesnake:Please give me the benefit of the doubt that I actually have done the reasonable thing and do read the poems I comment on.

    I have done that–hence my questions!

    It is perfectly possible to find and appreciate poetry that approaches Christianity from an unorthodox perspective. This particular poem of Donne’s, though, is quite orthodox.

    Well, like the Dude says, that’s just like your opinion, ma’am! Then again, I do not see how to make more apparent than I have the difficulty I found… If you do not see it, it were unreasonable in me to ask you to fix it.

    • #85
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