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“Easter” is a poem written by Jill Alexander Essbaum. The poem was first published in the Poetry Magazine in 2011. The poem brings a different outlook to conventional notions. Traditionally Easter, a Christian tradition is much celebrated and brings happiness to the people celebrating it. But the poem talks about the loneliness and sadness it brings to the poet. The poem is a reflection of the poet’s feelings and experiences on the Easter holiday. Unlike everyone else, who feel happy during the holiday, the poet experiences sadness.
About the poet
Jill Alexander Essbaum was born in 1971 in Texas, USA. She is an author, poet and professor. Her works are famous for the use of humor, puns and wordplay. Her poems usually have religious undertones. She has published one novel, “Hausfrau”, and many poetry collections like “Heaven”, “Necropolis” and “Oh Forbidden”.
The poem is written in the lyric form. It is written in 26 lines, with 13 couplets.
is my season of defeat. Though all is green and death is done, I feel alone.
The poet’s persona begins by talking about the season of Easter. This season is a sad season for the persona. The persona says that even though there is “green” and “death/ is done” which causes joy everywhere she herself feels sad and alone. This leaves the reader to question the cause behind the speaker’s loneliness. The sadness that the speaker feels while being surrounded by joy and festivity causes her great pain.
The poet starts the stanza by addressing the season of Easter. She says that this time is a time of defeat for her. She feels defeated and hopeless during Easter. Easter occurs during spring and because of that the poet says that all the world is green for Easter. Nature has revived after the cold winter and the world gets ready for a new life. The line “death/ is done” refers to the resurrection of Jesus Christ as well as nature. But still the poet feels alone. This could be because she is missing a person in her life who is no longer alive.
Lines – 8-19
As if the stone rolled off from the head of the tomb is lodged in the doorframe of my room, and everyone I’ve ever loved lives happily just past my able reach.
The speaker says that she feels as if a piece of stone is stuck in her memories. The stone is a piece broken from the head of a tomb. And it is lodged in her mind like a rock stuck in the doorframe of a room. And just like it is hard to close the door when a stone is stuck in the door frame of the room, the poet too can not help but remember the people she has lost in life. They live “happily” somewhere where she can not reach them.
The poet talks about the grief and loneliness she feels because of the death of her loved ones. She compares this feeling to the image of a stone lodged in her door frame. The stone is a piece of the head of a tomb. This symbolizes how the memory of a tomb is still present in her mind and it is “lodged” in her heart. Just like it stops the door of her room from closing, the grief stops the poet from forgetting the deaths. All the people that the poet has loved and died are living happily but just outside the reach of the poet. This makes the poet feel despair and alone in the world.
Lines – 20- 26
And each time Jesus rises I’m reminded of this marble fact: they are not coming back.
The speaker says that every time during Easter, she is reminded how Jesus, who had died, comes back to life. This only reminds her of the unchangeable fact that her loved ones who are dead will never come back to life. The speaker sees this as a great injustice. Jesus was able to come back to life and live again but the people that the speaker has lost to death will never come back to life to live with her again.
The poet refers to the Christian story of how Jesus was crucified and killed and was resurrected on the day of Easter. This fact only reminds the poet about the sad and unchangeable fact that it does not happen in her life. The people who are dead will stay dead. They will not come back to live. This thought makes the poet feel sad, alone and hatred for the festival.