Epiphanies (of Sorts) around Easter


Epiphanies (of Sorts) around Easter

Easter, as a child, meant ham,
a family tradition,
which I thought back then
was a subtle declaration
that we were not Jewish
though I realize now
was probably the only big meat to hand as Spring sprang
when my parents grew up in Midwest farm country.

My in-laws in the East ate lamb,
which always seemed to me
a rather poor-taste communion with Him,
who taketh away
the sins of the world, blood pooling
on the platter,
but I realize now
was likely the least wasteful fresh meat

So, with such food for thought nudging me,
I realized, today, Holy Saturday, that the child whose hands glove glow
in a Georges de la Tour painting, my absolute favorite
when I too was about that age,
is not a girl with her father, also bald like mine, but
Jesus himself with Joseph (“Joseph, the Carpenter”).
De La Tour’s Joseph,
according to Wikepedia, uses an auger shaped
like a crucifix–

And all this time, I thought it was simply
a strikingly beautiful painting, showing, amazingly, how light shines
in dark places and can be caught by hands
shaped by pigment, or
the love of it,
and can be fixed too
as long as the hues hold true
and are kept in place by the rabbit-skin glue
used to prepare the painting surface.

Which is something else we don’t really think of much–
the stuff of paintings,
like the sources of ham and lamb–
all flames of a sort that light us,
waxing our grip,
without, we hope, burning
our fingers–

But I wonder, today,
in this Spring sun
so much brighter
than a candle, how we redeem
the squeals, how
are they too deemed necessary?

All I can think of is the word

Here’s very much of a draft poem for some day of April National Poetry month. I’m sorry if I’ve worn out the Easter theme–but here it is. The painting above is by Georges De La Tour, “Joseph the Carpenter.” I do not claim any copyright in the photograph and think/hope this is fair use. I am linking to the open link night of with real toads. (Again, by the way, I am trying to return all comments, but it is a bit hard right now. I will catch up and I thank you for your kind visits!)

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13 Comments on “Epiphanies (of Sorts) around Easter”

  1. margaret Says:

    I like this internal dialogue – reflection and discovery – I feel like I’m trespassing a bit.

  2. brian miller Says:

    painstakingly at times…i wonder do we wonder at paintings…the mysteries and meanings of them…or of anything really…answers come too easy these days at a push of a button and we accept them as truth…not much wonder needed….well built piece k…you have me contemplative…

  3. I have such conflicted thoughts this time of year…I spent years as an adult in church…singing in the choir…working always working. Now I can’t even go to a church. I fee like I swallowed the kool-aid of a denomination’s interpretation and survived.

  4. Sumana Roy Says:

    love the reflective lines…

  5. grapeling Says:

    ‘all flames of a sort that light us’ – indeed, the heart of an artist ~

  6. Jinksy Says:

    Interesting perspective on Easter and traditional fare…

  7. Brendan Says:

    If Joe Sr. used a crucifix-shaped augur, no wonder Christ Jr. figured out a way to cobble heaven with a cross … Belief is anchored in childhood, I believe (that’s why it’s so unwaveringly beyond reason), and the childlike simplicity of the painting & your meditation turns belief around to wonder why all of creation aren’t permitted access to that heaven. When sacrifice of animals (and the Son of God) seemed such a refutation of the intimate glow of the manger. I suppose when we start making greater sacrifices for the world’s sake–“painstakingly” giving up some part of our heaven for it’s good–that we may find the world a more, um, glowing place. Great meditation.

  8. An epiphany shared spreads the enlightenment around. I thoroughly appreciate the opportunity to look at all these things: meats, paintings, sacrifice in a new way today.

  9. hedgewitch Says:

    Ah, k. You know De La Tour is a favorite of mine. This is one of his more eloquent studies in light and shade, and your reflections on the religious elements, symbolic or literal, are also shadowy, but shiny with moments of glow. You have to know that the Judeo-Christian tradition is one of the most rapacious ever born on this planet afa other life forms, ie, god made them all only to serve us, and the most He ever seems to say about it is to not be wasteful. You have to go back to the east or to native americans, or the cave drawings of Europe to find any reverence for non-human life, or any acknowledgement of the sacrifice we expect of it to provide everything we need. But I digress–some very chilling reflections on the whole Easter syndrome, and beautifully, lightly(no pun intended) written.

  10. janehewey Says:

    How much I adore the fact that you saw this as a girl with her father! A child’s honest and self-important ( i really mean that in a good way) view. Your themes of light and meat –and the overlapping to the two– are wonderful. We had the annual easter ham as well, and I did wonder the same as you. I don’t think one can stretch the easter theme too far. It is one of our broadest, most diverse celebrations with controversial origins that can’t help but spark interesting questions… making for some of the best poetry, as you have here.

  11. Mama Zen Says:

    This is masterful work. Beautifully balanced.

  12. Steve King Says:

    The painting has an emerging beauty that reaches out at us through those hands…Your verse reflects that impact, at least on me–quiet, understated, yet relentless in drawing me in and on through each of the stanzas. Easter, especially, brings out a conflicting sense of the season of life and death, which for many now, ceases to be coupled with the requisite sense of redemption. Your linking of the dinners with the fact of sacrifice is a very stirring one, something which most won’t like to think of. This is very strong writing, and it brings to light some very different lessons of the season.
    Steve K.

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