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Analysis Of The Poem Passion Flower By Christopher Okigbo



  • According the article of St. John D. Parsons, "Christopher Okigbo originally wrote Passion Flower as a continuation of his poem "Sacrifice" in the series called Heavengate.

    [View The Poem Passion Flower by Christopher Okigbo]

    The passion flower is so named because its parts are said to resemble ceetain aspect of the crucifixion of Jesus Christ, e.g. the corona represents the crown of thorns, the pistil and stamens the nails of the cross, and the sepals and petals the apostles. The passion refers to the sufferings of Christ between the night of the Last Supper and his death.

    In line 3, Lacrimae Christi is a Latin meaning "the tears of Christ". "dumb bell" in line 6 referred to the practice in the Roman Catholic Church where bell are not rung between Maundy Thursday and the first Mass on Easter Sunday. Messiah in line 8 pointed at the expected King and Savior (Jesus Christ). "after the argument in heaven" which appeared in line 9 of the poem was looking at the shaking of the powers of heaven referred to in The Gospel According to St. Luke, Chapter 21, verse 26, prior to the coming of the Son of Man, described in verse 27.

    Lumen mundi is also a latin, meaning the Light of the World ( Jesus Christ). "Penitence"(line 11) meant sorrow for faults or sins. "palm grove"(line 14) meant the place of sacrifice. In line 15, "vegetable offering" the fruits of the earth that are being sacrificed, that is, palm oil, kola nuts, alligator pepper and eggs of white hens. "five fingers of chalk" in line 16-17 referred to the sacrificial chalk which is sold in "fingers". The prodigal uses five of these for his sacrifice because his own personal symbol is the pentagon (see the poem Sacrifice):

    'on palm beam imprinted
    my pentagon_'"

    Christopher Okigbo before killed in 1967 in Biafra war, was a Secretary, a Latin teacher, a librarian, a West African representative of Cambridge University Press. He was a graduate of University of Ibadan and was born in 1932 in Anambra state.

    READ MORE CLASSIC POEM [Post Mortem by Wole Soyinka]

    Samuel C. Enunwa aka samueldpoetry
    (the Leo with wings flying to skying)
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