by Wallace Stevens
Sunday Morning Religion Quotes
How we cite our quotes: (stanza.line)
Supple and turbulent, a ring of men
Shall chant in orgy on a summer morn
Their boisterous devotion to the sun,
Not as a god, but as a god might be,
Naked among them, like a savage source. (lines 91-95)
Did you think an "orgy" had something to do with sex? Well, sometimes it does, but it’s also a general word to refer to pagan religious rituals. These rituals often involved singing, dancing, drinking, and, sometimes, sex. We don’t think this one is very sexual, though – well, except for the fact that the men are naked. Anyway, the pagan orgy is a way of celebrating nature, just as going to church for Christians is a way of celebrating God.
She hears, upon that water without sound,
A voice that cries, "The tomb in Palestine
Is not the porch of spirits lingering.
It is the grave of Jesus, where he lay." (lines 106-109)
In the final stanza, the woman hears a voice that says that Christ’s tomb is not a place where ghosts and supernatural spirits hang out – it’s just the grave of a guy named Jesus. Essentially, she’s imagining that the tomb in Palestine is a part of nature, like any other tomb, and not a special place outside of nature. Should we read this as her turning away from the Christian religion?