Visual poetry is written with an intentional form to add meaning to a poem. This form may take on recognizable shapes. For example this poem titled Gunslinger is in the shape of a cowboy holding a gun. This poem Panda is about a black and white panda. These shapes and rhythms are typically tied to the central idea and themes contained within the poems and serve to reinforce those concepts. Easter Wings is a visual poem written by George Herbert. By giving the poem of visual structure he lifts the poem into a multimedia experiences that engage both the brain and your eyes and he wrote it in the 17th century. The poem is in the shape of wings like an angel. Other people believe the poem is in the shape of birds wings. Either way the poem is supposed to allow you to understand the sinful fall of man from God's favor. The poem then asks God to allow you to fly like a bird and sing of God's victories.
The poem consists of two 10 line stanzas. It is set in the spring and contains a simile that compares the freedom that humans experience to the bird singing in the morning. There is also alliteration in the line “the fall further the flight in me” ( 10) Alliteration allows your brain to linger on all of those F's to enhance meaning. This line summarizes the entire poem that despair can bring joy because despair has allowed the Lord Jesus Christ to rise on this day. In line 12 the poem uses a very specific type of alliteration known as sibilance which just means a lot of S sounds in one line. His example is the line “and still with sicknesses and shame” (12).
Herbert uses the overall shape of the verses in many ways. The first half of both stanzas of the poem become smaller with each line and then grow again in the second half. Not only does this give the poem the shape of the wings but it allows you to lose hope and then gain hope again during the reading. There are portions of deep imagery not only in the words but in the very structure visually of the poem.
The poem is meant to be read again and again each time you read it you find new meanings. One of the largest questions remains where the poem truly begins. Because the poem is literally split into onto separate pages you can start on either page. When you turn the poem 90° to read it sideways is meant to invoke the vision of wings on both pages so you could ask yourself is this in fact two poems are just one large one?
Visual assonance are words that contain the same vowels but actually sound different and they are very important in this poem because they stand out visually drawing your eye in. The visual shape of the poem is very important to the overall meaning. In the first line two words look alike but sound completely different “Lord, who createdst man in wealth and store”(1). Here the EA in"createdst" and "wealth" look very similar but sound completely different. In line 8, where an internal rhyme on AR links "larks" and "harmoniously" again they look very similar but sound completely different.