Seven Stanzas at Easter

Seven Stanzas at Easter

“Between God, Easter, and Human beings” by John Updike


 “Seven Stanzas at Easter”, written by John Updike, is an poem created by the excellences of John Updike as the author I think. This poem tells about Easter and its relation to our life, but there are so many hard and unusual which John Updike is used in this poem. So, John Updike hides the meaning of this “seven stanzas at Easter” poem behind those hard and unusual words that the readers should go analyzing in order to get the meaning of this poem. Besides Hard and unusual words,  metaphors also have many contributions to build the meaning of the poem. Moreover, metaphors appear as the part of the poem which are always used to tell the meaning. In another words,metaphors have been prepared by John Updike to help the readers to get the meaning, even though it is just a simple meaning that you can find without analyzing, but that’s the art of literature I think, we have to go deeper to get what we want, not instantly.

Words, I think these simple things are being the most important things in this poem. Indeed, there are so many hard and unusual words that we can find in this poem such as: reknit, rekindle, fuddle, etc. I think it doesn’t matter whether these words are truly hard or not because there are more complicated words still used in other poems and it usually happens in literature, the matter is how great these words build the meaning of this poem. They are related one to others in order to build the meaning. For example, we can look at this part of first stanza “if the cells’ dissolution did not reverse, the molecules reknit, the amino acids rekindle”. We can find at least 3 hard words in this part, such as: dissolution, reverse, reknit, amino acids, and rekindle. That’s what I mean by the excellence of John Updike because he uses some words and a simple way to tell about God’s arousal that I assume that in this part John Updike try to write about his impression of God’s arousal. I think John Updike wants to tell what he feels about Easter which is very impressed him, so he uses so many complicated words to explain it. “One great use of words is to hide our thoughts” – Voltaire- , this quote is probably the foundation of John Updike to write this poem. ”Hide the meaning in simple words”.   

I think John Updike takes so many pressures to metaphors to get clear meaning of this poem. Alike what I said above that metaphors are tools to get the meaning of this poem, so I assume we can use this ’tools’ to get through deeper to get the meaning of poem. Actually, this whole poem tells about the Easter and how to behave of it, but if you analyze each metaphor in each stanza, you will find some different stories of this poem that can bring you to the meaning, such as: Make no mistake: if He rose at all, it was as His body; if the cells’ dissolution did not reverse, the molecules reknit, the amino acids rekindle, the Church will fall (first stanza). From this stanza, I think the bolded and italic clauses are the metaphor of this stanza. We can look to the stanza and get the meaning that in this stanza, John Updike wants to tell about God’s arousal and his own impression inside the metaphor. I think John Updike is really impressed by God’s arousal which brings salvation to the human beings heart, so he uses the words of cells, molecules and amino acids to prove and say that every part of Jesus Christ, the lamb of God, which dies for human beings is worthy. In another side, another stanza says “It was not as the flowers, each soft Spring recurrent; it was not as His Spirit in the mouths and fuddled eyes of the eleven apostles; it was as His flesh: ours(second stanza). We can see the difference in meaning between first and second stanza even though both of them have relationship. This stanza is actually the continuity of first stanza. This stanza tells about the real meaning of Easter, Easter is not about beauty, routine, or spirit, but it is about the flesh of Jesus Christ, who had died  in the cross to heal human’s sins.

Meaning is the thing that the author of a poem tries to hide in their metaphors and their words and the reader wants to get from reading a poem. In meaning, I think the author has told it by the title Seven Stanzas at Easter, so this is about something happens in Easter, the death and arousal of Jesus Christ. I think if we say that, it’s too simple to do. I divide this poem into 2 parts to get the meaning: a. Easter’s reflection (stanza 1 to 3)

      b. asks or request to the  people (stanza 4 to 7)

If we refer to those 2 parts, I think we could have to conclude that this poem tells about the feeling and reflection of the author about the Easter which he feels that Easter is an activity which happens once a year without they know the core of the Easter, so we can see it in stanza 4 to 7, where the author ‘criticizes’ by asking the other people to respect and know more about what Easter is. Easter is not about an activity or routine, but Easter is about the sacrifice of Jesus Christ who had died in the holy cross.

“Seven Stanzas at Easter” is a poem which shows that metaphor also determines the meaning of a poem. Metaphor also makes a word is more meaningful than if it stands by itself. “Seven Stanzas at Easter” tells about social critics that people admit by their behaviours that Easter is just an event which happens once a year, even it is made as the source to get the truth of life, without they (people) know what the meaning of Easter is.