Instructor: Adam Helmintoller
English section 241-40
16 November 2011
George Herbert’s Imagery
The poem “Easter wings” by George Herbert is a poem that contains deep imagery which is shown not only in his words but also his visual structure. Herbert chooses the structure of a pair of wings for many different reasons. He also gives his poem a lot of imagery which should help the reader gain a different perspective to the poem. The poem explains Herbert’s desires to fly with Jesus after his resurrection. Herbert put himself deliberately in the poem by commonly using “I” and “me”. Herbert then addresses the audience in the first line with “Lord”, meaning Jesus Christ. Yet the confusion is of where the poem starts since it is split in two parts but having to be read sideways. This could be used to invoke visions of both wings, meaning that instead of looking at one large poem there is actually two smaller poems instead. Lord, who createth man in wealth and store” is the beginning of this poem, helping to immediately establish the audience in the first word (Greenblatt 1609). It also reveals the poem as a type of prayer towards God. Herbert uses the “winged” look in his poem to more or less catch the readers eye an relate to the imagery Herbert uses in the poem with his words. The beginning of the poem describes the fall of men from “wealth” into the “decaying” of life from sinful nature, “Lord, who createst man in wealth and store, Though foolishly he lost the same, Decaying more and more Till he became Most poor:” the structure of the first few lines parallel the content, by having the lines “decaying” in length but also the imagery “decaying” with the fall of mankind (Greenblatt 1609). Herbert wanted his audience to see the parallelism between the shape and the actual meaning of the poem. Herbert wanted the reader to find the true meaning of the poem by connecting it with the shape. In the second part of the two poems is turning in emotion and...
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