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A Lesson For This Sunday Essay

815 words - 4 pages

The growing idleness of summer grass
With its frail kites of furious butterflies
Requests the lemonade of simple praise
In scansion gentler than my hammock swings
And rituals no more upsetting than a
Black maid shaking linen as she sings
The plain notes of some Protestant hosanna--
Since I lie idling from the thought in things--

Or so they should, until I hear the cries
Of two small children hunting yellow wings,
Who break my Sabbath with the thought of sin.
Brother and sister, with a common pin,
Frowning like serious lepidopterists.
The little surgeon pierces the thin eyes.
Crouched on plump haunches, as a mantis prays
She shrieks to eviscerate its abdomen.
The lesson is ...view middle of the document...

In the last stanza, the persona has lost his peace of mind and comments on the inevitability that man will be cruel to nature. The poem is written in free verse. The first stanza describes the relaxation on a Sunday, the second describes what disturbed the persona and the last has the persona reflecting on the lesson learnt. The lesson being that man is cruel to nature, so much so that it can be said it is natural to him.

Stanza 1
The poem opens with a tone of warmth, complacency and comfort but drastically changes to one of annoyance. The religious diction used in the poem, “simple praise .... sings ... hosanna ... sin ...sabbath ...prays” alludes to Sunday being a day of rest and worship for Christians. The lack of punctuation in the first few lines which conveys the fact that initially, the poet was quite relaxed.

Stanza 2
The simile “Frowning like serious lepidopterists” shows how the children take their cruel game seriously. It is doubtful that they are aware of the pain they cause the butterfly. A lepidopterist is a specialist in moths, butterflies etc. The attention the children give to their game is also seen when the poet uses a metaphor to compare their killing of the butterfly to a surgeon, “The little surgeon pierces the thin eyes”. In another simile, “Frail as a flower in this blue August air,” the poet expresses the view that the little girl is just a...

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