Treasure Island

Sidney Lanier

(1842-1881 / Macon / Georgia)

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A Sunrise Song.


Young palmer sun, that to these shining sands
Pourest thy pilgrim's tale, discoursing still
Thy silver passages of sacred lands,
With news of Sepulchre and Dolorous Hill,

Canst thou be he that, yester-sunset warm,
Purple with Paynim rage and wrack desire,
Dashed ravening out of a dusty lair of Storm,
Harried the west, and set the world on fire?

Hast thou perchance repented, Saracen Sun?
Wilt warm the world with peace and dove-desire?
Or wilt thou, ere this very day be done,
Blaze Saladin still, with unforgiving fire?

Submitted: Tuesday, December 31, 2002

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  • Kevin Straw (10/11/2012 11:53:00 AM)

    What a sloppy first verse! A pilgrim traveled to a certain place, the palmer visited everywhere. So the sun must be a pilgrim except that the sun has no certain place to go except round and round in the sky! And it certainly cannot be both! And how the sun can discourse is a mystery. The sun shines and that’s it. This is a meaningless metaphor. What in the activity or appearance of the sun can give the writer leave to have it tell a religious story? (Report) Reply

  • Ramesh T A (10/11/2011 3:35:00 AM)

    Sun is the power of heat! What mercy can be expected from it? Atmosphere filters Sun's rays and saves Earth long! It is in man's hand to make or mar what the poet desires by this simple poem! (Report) Reply

  • Abnish Singh Chauahan (4/23/2010 5:25:00 AM)

    Beautiful use of symbol- the sun; a symbol of awakening, a symbol ob joy and hope, a symbol of courage and so on: so is the message of tyhis poem. (Report) Reply

  • Michael Harmon (10/11/2009 1:16:00 AM)

    Definition of 'palmer' from Merriam-Webster's online dictionary:

    Date: 13th century
    : a person wearing two crossed palm leaves as a sign of a pilgrimage made to the Holy Land

    Definition of “painim” (aka 'paynim') from Webster’s Revised Unabridged Dictionary:

    A pagan; an infidel (Report) Reply

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