Wednesday 21 August 2019

Rising Poems: 'I See His Blood Upon The Rose' by Joseph Plunkett

I See His Blood  Upon The Rose

I see his blood upon the rose
And in the stars the glory of his eyes,
His body gleams amid eternal snows,
His tears fall from the skies.

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.

All pathways by his feet are worn,
His strong heart stirs the ever-beating sea,
His crown of thorns is twined with every thorn,
His cross is every tree.

An assessment of 'I See His Blood  Upon The Rose' by Dr Lucy Collins

'I See His Blood Upon the Rose' is a poem in the mystical tradition, expressing the intensity of Plunkett's Christian faith. These simple verses testify to the presence of the divine in the world, reading in nature the iconography of the crucifixion. 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. Here the deeply personal becomes universal through an unworldly directness of address.

Plunkett's commitment to the revolutionary process suggests how shared intentions may find expression in individual action, and indicates the redemptive power of personal sacrifice. Yet this is also a poem about what it is to see - about the significance of the act of writing as a form of revelation. It reflects our need to move beyond the narrow confines of the self in the search for human meaning.

Dr Lucy Collins is a lecturer in English at University College Dublin (UCD). She is the curator of 'Reading 1916', a forthcoming exhibition at UCD Special Collections.

Irish Independent

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