Let's face it: Easter really doesn't have the overwhelming and all-encompassing feel that's characteristic of Christmas. While (obviously) many people don't celebrate either of those two holidays, for many, it can be a bit difficult to dodge all of the red and green, Nativity sets, Santa sightings, and tree lightings that appear right after Thanksgiving and carry on through Dec. 25. Easter, on the other hand, doesn't take over TV channels with movie marathons or radio stations with seasonal tunes, but there are Easter poems, stories, and images that you can share with family and friends to celebrate the season.
While the Easter Bunny and Easter egg hunts are a few of the more commercial aspects of Easter, it tends to be a more inherently religious holiday celebration than some of the others. After partaking in brunch or dinner, you may want to read a few Easter poems. In the Christian tradition, the story of the days leading up to Easter Sunday isn't necessarily as small child-friendly as that of Christmas, and there aren't many movies that work well for family viewing. Poems can articulate the themes and capture the importance of the holiday in the same way that a movie such as The Passion of the Christ can, but are a good compromise if you're looking to avoid such vivid imagery. While not all deeply religious, one of these Easter poems may be just what you're looking for to cap off your springtime celebration.
1. "Easter Day" by Oscar Wilde
"Easter Day" by Oscar Wilde tells the story of the moment of Jesus's resurrection, which Christians believe happened that Sunday morning, three days after his death. This is just an excerpt; read "Easter Day" in its entirety here.
The silver trumpets rang across the Dome:
The people knelt upon the ground with awe:
And borne upon the necks of men I saw,
Like some great God, the Holy Lord of Rome.
Priest-like, he wore a robe more white than foam,
And, king-like, swathed himself in royal red,
Three crowns of gold rose high upon his head:
In splendour and in light the Pope passed home.
2. "Easter" by Joyce Kilmer
Joyce Kilmer's poem, "Easter," is quite brief, but, in my opinion, perfectly describes the season of rebirth for which springtime and Easter are both known.
The air is like a butterfly
With frail blue wings.
The happy earth looks at the sky
3. "Easter" by George Herbert
According to Patrick Comerford, an online journal on Anglicanism (among other things), "Easter," written by priest and theologian George Herbert, was published in 1633, not long after Herbert's death. It was originally written in two parts and later combined. It's a bit lengthy, but it's worth reading. You can read "Easter" in its entirety here.
I got me flowers to straw thy way;
I got me boughs off many a tree:
But thou wast up by break of day,
And brought'st thy sweets along with thee.
4. "I See His Blood Upon The Rose" by Joseph Mary Plunkett
This poem, written after the Easter Rising in Ireland in 1916, is more about Easter and Plunkett's Christian faith than obvious revolutionary ideologies. According to Dr. Lucy Collins, a lecturer in English at University College Dublin, who wrote an assessment of the poem (and others about the Easter Rising) for the Irish Independent, "At the centre of the poem lies the conviction that Christ's suffering will never be forgotten, as long as God's word remains the bedrock of existence." The perfect poem to read on Easter Sunday. Read "I See His Blood Upon The Rose" in it's entirety here.
I see his face in every flower;
The thunder and the singing of the birds
Are but his voice-and carven by his power
Rocks are his written words.
5. "The Easter Story" by Joanna Fuchs
Joanna Fuchs's "The Easter Story" tells the whole extended — yet, somehow, still condensed — story of Easter and the events leading up to Easter Sunday. The last stanza, in particular, might be good for kids, as it explains the importance of the holiday in words that they can understand. You can find the entire version of "The Easter Story" here.
That's why Easter is a major event:
He suffered and died in our place.
He rose and forgave us and loves us still,
Our Savior of matchless grace.
6. "An Eastern Ballad" by Allen Ginsberg
This short Allen Ginsberg poem isn't about Easter directly, but encapsulates many of the themes that Easter celebrates, like the dawning of a new day. You might have to explain how it's connected, but it's a good, unreligious read.
I speak of love that comes to mind:
The moon is faithful, although blind;
She moves in thought she cannot speak.
Perfect care has made her bleak.
I never dreamed the sea so deep,
The earth so dark; so long my sleep,
I have become another child.
I wake to see the world go wild.
7. "The Easter Bunny" by Josephine Todd
"The Easter Bunny" by Josephine Todd was written in 1909 and tells the story of the Easter Bunny decorating the eggs she'll (that's right, in this poem, the Easter Bunny is a she) later bring to deserving kids. It's a cute poem and is probably especially good for the little ones. Read "The Easter Bunny" in its entirety here.
There's a story quite funny,
About a toy bunny,
And the wonderful things she can do;
Every bright Easter morning,
She colors eggs red, green, or blue.
8. "Some Things That Easter Brings" by Elsie Parrish
"Some Things That Easter Brings" is a fun, cute little poem that's sure to get your little ones excited for Easter Sunday morning.
Easter duck and Easter chick,
Easter eggs with chocolate thick.
Easter hats for one and all,
Easter Bunny makes a call!
Happy Easter always brings
Such a lot of pleasant things.
9. "An Easter Carol" by Christina Rossetti
Christina Rossetti's "An Easter Carol" is, of course, about Easter, but it's also about the changing seasons and the dawning of Spring. It's the perfect way to end the day on Easter Sunday. You can read all of "An Easter Carol" here.
Flash forth, thou Sun,
The rain is over and gone, its work is done.
Winter is past,
Sweet Spring is come at last, is come at last.