Saturday, April 4, 2015

Easter Memories: a poem

Easter has always been one of my favorite holidays. It's an opportunity to see my extended family. The weather is usually nice. The trees are becoming green, and the early-season flowers are blooming. I also like it because I think it is less touched by commercialism than other holidays. People still give each other Easter gifts, but it's not taken to the ridiculous extremes of Christmas. And the gifts are mostly chocolate, which is much more welcome than yet another pair of socks, or some game I'll play twice and set on the shelf for the next 100 years. There's no Easter equivalent of Black Friday. People get together on Easter to enjoy each other and to enjoy nature, and that's really how every holiday should be.

As a child, the Easter morning church service was probably my favorite service of the year. The sanctuary, the clothes, the congregation, and the music were always so bright and cheerful. Even as I've gotten older and more cynical about organized religion, and no longer attend an Easter morning church service, I still feel a strong sense of nostalgia about Easter. As organized religion is becoming less popular with each generation in the US, I think my sentiment is one that increasing numbers of young people can probably relate to.

Here's a poem I wrote to try to capture that sentiment.

I love the smell of Easter lilies.
How it fills whatever room they’re in.
How it’s enough to penetrate even my defective nose.
And the central part it plays in that exultant synergy of Easter morning.

After the Bible slams shut in a darkened church on Good Friday
and everybody goes home in a somber mood that lingers on through Saturday,
then early Sunday morning the sanctuary doors open

The organ
The Easter lilies

The sunrise
streaming through the stained glass windows
reflecting off the bright white altar cloth
off the bright white petals of the Easter lilies

And the small town church choir sings so strong and smooth I’d swear they were angels

It’s God proclaiming victory over death

And maybe it’s true and maybe it’s not,
but it sure feels true to those smiling parishioners
in their pastel dresses and light colored suits.
And to their little kids
all hyped up on chocolate eggs despite the early hour

And sometimes it feels true to me

and I haven’t been to church since Christmas
and I don’t plan to go today

But Jesus Christ I miss the smell of Easter lilies

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