Friday, April 15, 2022

Easter 2022

August O'Connor decorating pysanky in Boulder Creek

 EASTER 2022

Easter begin as a pagan holiday celebrating the Anglo-Saxon goddess Oestara, Our Lady of the Dawn, of the Spring, of Fertility and of Regeneration. The feast of Oestara was transformed by Chrisians into the Feast of the Resurrection of Christ, the most joyous day in the liturgical calendar. What better symbol of fertility and new beginnings than the egg!

Ukrainian Easter eggs are called pysanky and (my father being Ukrainian-American} each year during Holy Week, our family would gather around the gas cooking stove in Columbus, Ohio and decorate hard-boiled eggs with pinheads dipped in molten wax heating on the stove. On Easter Sunday my family would attend solemn High Mass at St Augustine's Church across the street, then return home for a hearty dinner usually centering around baked ham and mashed potatoes. We ate the ugly pysanky and displayed our best eggs in baskets, on shelves and exchanged them with friends.

Some pysanky from Nick and August

In this year 2022 witnessing sad struggle between passionate kinsmen over the future of Ukrainia. Knowing that Russians and Ukrainians share a common Slavic soul, for we Slavs to harm or harass one another benefits only Satan. One can only hope this Easter that some unanticipated miracle will occur, a miracle as great as the one symbolized by these decorated eggs, a miracle no better expressed than by John Updike's powerful Oestarian lines:

SEVEN STANZAS AT EASTER

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 fail.
 
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.
 
The same hinged thumbs and toes,
the same valved heart
that -- pierced -- died, withered, paused, and then
regathered out of enduring Might
new strength to enclose.
 
Let us not mock God with metaphor,
analogy, sidestepping, transcendence;
making of the event a parable, a sign painted in the
faded credulity of earlier ages:
let us walk through the door.
 
The stone is rolled back, not paper-mache, 
not a stone in a story
but the vast rock of materiality that in the slow
grinding of time will eclipse for each of us
the wide light of day.

And if we will have an angel at the tomb,
make it a real angel,
weighty with Max Planck's quanta, vivid with hair,
opaque in the dawn light, robed in real linen
spun on a definite loom.

Let us not seek to make it less monstrous,
for our own convenience, our own sense of beauty,
lest, awakened in one unthinkable hour, we are
embarrassed by the miracle,
and crushed by remonstrance.
 
American novelist John Updike
 

3 comments:

John Horgan said...

I really like this Nick.

Michael Grosso said...

Many thanks, Nick, for your thoughts on Ukraine and the poem by Updike.
May we all share in the miraculous renewal of life.
Today, tomorrow, whenever.

Jim said...


We all have our rock
that keeps us in our cave,
yet there are
cascades of angels
waiting to be asked
to do
what they do so well.