“A Lesson for this Sunday” Journal
A Lesson for This Sunday
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 (05)
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, (10)
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 (15)
She shrieks to eviscerate its abdomen.
The lesson is the same. The maid removes
Both prodigies from their interest in science.
The girl, in lemon frock, begins to scream
As the maimed, teetering thing attempts its flight. (20)
She is herself a thing of summery light,
Frail as a flower in this blue August air,
Not marked for some late grief that cannot speak.
The mind swings inward on itself in fear
Swayed towards nausea from each normal sign. (25)
Heredity of cruelty everywhere,
And everywhere the frocks of summer torn,
The long look back to see where choice is born,
As summer grass sways to the scythe's design.
1. Define the following words and consider their use(s) in the context of the poem.
a. Lesson (liturgical)- what is learned from parodies in religious books such as the Bible
b. scansion- the metrical analysis of verse
c. hosanna- a shout of praise or adoration; an acclamation; Used to express praise or adoration to God
d. lepidopterist- an entomologist who specializes in the collection and study of butterflies and moths
e. eviscerate- to remove the entrails from; disembowel; To take away a vital or essential part of
f. prodigy- a person, esp. a child or young person, having extraordinary talent or...